Monday, September 16, 2013
Tymor Park Challenge
Without taking an extended road trip or a boat, the last mtb race of the season was the Tymor Park Challenge, finale of the Campmor H2H race series. I had considered doing the Freetown 50 as after the Hampshire 100 I'm really digging longer distances, but speaking of longer distances, it would be about 100 miles more in the car, so the Tymor Challenge became much more attractive.
After a pre-ride lap I did something I rarely do; I put on a bigger cog. Tymor has over 900' of climbing in each 5.33 mile lap; about 50% more than I was expecting. That's Vermont-y.
The only name I recognized of the pre-registered riders was Brian Kelley. I don't believe we had ever actually raced, but I had seen his name in the results of some New England races and knew he was no joke.
Talking with Thierry, I missed the pre-race meeting. No big deal, it's a Cat1 XC race; ride 4 laps as fast as you can. Right?
They are smart and start the singlespeed riders after the Pros; no slower riders to get stuck behind on climbs.
The Pros go off and our 2 minutes is counted down, whistle blows and we are off. It not a big field of racers, but as the trail narrows for a bridge, things are getting tight, elbows knocked, and I back off a bit.
There is about a quarter mile more before we bang a left into the woods and head up the first climb. I spin it up, and get there first, taking the A line on the climb. Brian grabs the B line and passes me...strongly. Another rider is dicing with me as we come to the convergence of the A and B line. I push hard and get there first.
Brian is super smooth in the singletrack. Conditions are perfect, but this part of the course has slick, black hard pack that take skill and confidence to ride fast. I'm hold Brian to about 10 meters (eurotrash for 35'), but not closing at all.
Then there is an awful metallic crunch and Brian pulls over.
I'm really bummed, as I'm thinking a horrendous mechanical has taken him out.
But no sooner than I think this He's back on my wheel.
Showing the Broseph nature of the SS, he calls out turns I might has missed do to my unfamiliarity with the course.
When we get to the last third of the lap we are still right together. But the last 1/3 has some of the most significant climbs. Slowly I'm able to grow a gap, and by the time we get back to the grass, it's almost 30".
Now things get lonely. The next 2 laps I ride completely alone. Trying to stay on top of things and not get complacent.
It's not until the last 1/3 of the 3rd lap that Matt Boobar, XTerra pro racing the 40-49 class catches me and gives me a little company before he powers away.
I'm really starting to feel it in my legs at the end of the lap, but need to keep on top of it for just one more. Hopefully I can ride all the climbs one last time. As I sprint through the start finish I see some Pros hanging around. "Wow" I think "they finished 4 laps faster than I finished 3". As I hammer down the fireroad, about to turn into the woods up the hill, I hear someone shouting "3 laps, buddy it's only 3 laps!"
It's my pal Neal from the Errace Power by Central Wheel team and winner of the Pro race letting me know I was done and won. I guess the Pros would have had to pass me to do a 4th lap huh? Maybe those pre-race meetings are of a little more importance too?
1st place Singlespeed second fastest Cat1.
About a minute later Brian comes down the road; I'm relived that his only mechanical was just a stick, and his bike was good the rest of the race.
Glad I had the bigger cog, wouldn't have minded one tooth bigger either.
Just when things get rolling the season is coming to an end...
On an equipment note, I rode Blü.2, my Singular Swift. The last race I won was on my this bike. It was a climby VT race. I've had decent result on other bikes, but my Swift, even with a couple extra pounds is the bike I've the greatest accomplishments on. Always reliable. I haven't officially been a Singular team member since 2010, but if it ain't broke...