Photo credit: Blatantly stolen from Mark @ the Cycle Snack
I was going to title this post "The Bitch is Back" (yeah, I was thinking about it for a while...) but as I type this I'm near giddiness.
Today I raced my bike today for the first time in over 2 months. I even did pretty well. Got home and Kim was making eggplant parm. Racing my bike and eggplant parm...does it get any better?
Yes it does, but lets get on with the race report shall we.
Hodges Village Dam isn't a course that really suits me. It's a power course. The climbing in it is all short bursts. It is a fun course; very rocky, rooty and twisty, but courses with more elevation gain work better for me.
I tried to compensate for the lack of elevation with a big (for me) gear; a 33x17. Pre-riding I decided this was too big (last year I used a 34x18). I had the foresight to bring an 18, a chain whip, a wrench, but neglected to bring the cassette tool. Fortunately Andy Chambers was well prepared, so 10 minutes before the start I was changing gears.
After the call up, I noticed there was no line at the portolets so I even took care of a little last minute business.
We had a pretty big field, I heard someone say 15, but only like 9 finished.
The whistle blew, and I got a good start; second wheel. Steve Witkus from Bikeman was in the lead and just floated away.
I was comfortable in second but Carl Kresser in 3rd place was right with me. When we got to a switchback I got a glance back and we were all alone. I was surprised Kerry wasn't with us.
Soon after I jettisoned a bottle.
When we got to the fireroad at the back of the lap, Carl passed me while I was taking a drink.
He led through the feed zone and began to pull out a little gap.
That's cool I thought, if I can maintain 3rd I'll be psyched.
I found out why Kerry wasn't with us as I caught him walking his bike out of the woods (bummer!).
I had yelled to Mark in the feedzone that I had lost a bottle, but when I saw it on the trail, I stopped to grab it. I'm still comfortably in third right?
But then I started seeing Carl. Was I gaining? If this comes down to a sprint and I lose because I stopped for a bottle...I'd still be thrilled with 3rd.
On the sharp steep hills, his gear was a little too big...and he was riding flat pedals!
On the biggest climb of the course I finally caught him.
After the feedzone there is a long fireroad section, as I got to the end of it I took a quick glance, and had he wasn't there yet.
The third lap went well enough, but I was beginning to fade. No matter how many hours I put in over the past two months, just riding along isn't the same as racing I guess.
On the forth lap a parade of juniors and 50+ riders passed me, but still no singlespeeders; I guess I had just enough left in the tank.
Thanks again to Mark for getting me a bottle even though I didn't take it.
I almost crashed one of the Pro women riders, Janis Sandlin, when I took the long way around and she took the correct line. She stayed upright, so she was cool about it.
The course took it's toll on bikes and riders. Many abandoned with mechanicals.
According to Garmin, I was significantly slower this year than last, which is odd, as last year the course was under water. The course was slightly different this year, but I doubt the change really had too much effect on that. When results are posted I'll be interested in seeing how my time compares to other riders who raced it last year.
I won a back pack! I need a back pack...how great is that!
Steve didn't just win the race he destroyed the Cat1 Singlepeed class. I knew the course would suit him from racing him at Winding Trails, but he just owned it! Congratulations.
I was impressed with Carl's performance at the Glocester Grind, so it was nice to race and meet him (I didn't know who the guy riding flats was until the podium).
On the last lap some of the CAt2's were pre-riding the course. That's cool if you stay out of the way of the racers on the course, but there were guys riding the singletrack backwards! Have some respect for the racers on the course.
The course was dry and dust. Surprisingly, I was as dirty as a wet race, and it was harder to clean up afterwords.
I wore a HRM for the first time in a race in over 2 years. Avg. 175, max 187. That's significantly above what I train at (just started wearing the HRM there too). I think I need to throw in a day or two of higher intensity.