Thursday, September 20, 2012

Addison Oak XC

I love the trail at Addison Oaks and always like to do at least one race there.  The weather was perfect, so I arrived early and watched the Expert/Elite race.  Ron was tearing it up in Elite!!  It was also good to see Herriman back racing.   

A couple observations... the Elite field was small, but the 40-49 was 29 strong and the 50+ was 18 strong... Old fast guys coming out to play?!  The 40-49 class had some of the fastest times in the expert classes.  It would have been fun to mix it up in the Expert class, but I needed some time on the SS before heading to Crank the Shield the next weekend.  

After warming up, I rolled up to the line to see that the front row was already packed.  I found a wheel that I thought would be fast and waited.  I was a bit nervous as I hadn't ever raced the SS in a XC venue and wasn't sure what to expect.  I was questioning my ability to push a bigger gear and just hoping not to blow out my knees or quads before the finish!

The start was slower than anticipated and I made it to P4 before the first climb after brushing elbows with a few guys that didn't like being passed.  The climb was manageable and once in the single track the pace seemed pretty slow.  I tried to make a pass in an open area and a guy didn't like it and about put me off the trail, so I just tucked back in and waited.  At the next opportunity I decided to pass the group (instead of just one guy), pushed the pace and ended up riding alone.  At the end of the asphalt section, part of the group rolled up.  This was a little disheartening, but it was what it was.  I later found out that the guy that came in second wasn’t happy racing for second and ended up pulling the group up to me on the long 2-track section.  I led going back into the single track and set a comfortably hard pace.  The group was quickly slimmed down to me and just one other guy.  We swapped pulls the rest of the race.  He tried to drop me a few times, but I had decided to let it come down to a sprint.  We had a lot of traffic on the last lap, but somehow managed to come through without incident. 

On the last lap, I made sure I pulled the last single track section and put him in front of me on the sprint. and pulled around him by a half wheel at the line for the win.  We were coming to the line with some sport guys and I was thinking we might crash, but somehow everyone came out unscathed!  

Win or lose... it was one of the best races I have ever had.

Video of Finish (Thanks Alex!)

Sport/SS Results

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Road Wrap-up 2012

Tour de Gaslight
The main purpose for doing this race was to get Sushi in GR at Mikado, because they make this roll that is to die for!   The CAT3 race was moved to the end of the day, so after sleeping in, Mary Ann and I headed to the race.  After sitting at Starbucks, talking and watching racing, it was time to warm up.  At this point, I wasn’t as excited to race and the weather was not looking as good as it did earlier.  As we lined up, it started to rain.  Most guys let air out of their tires, but due to my extenders, this wasn’t an option.  Right from the start, we were hitting it hard and caused a separation.  After about 20mins and a few close calls sliding on the painted lines and a guy going down in front of me, I had to back off a bit.  I was now riding on my own just trying to hold my ground.  A few laps later, I was joined by a small group and we rode together.  As the main pack caught and went by us, I jumped on the back and rode the final 2 laps out.  There were a lot of wrecks and people that DNF’d.  I was lucky to keep the rubber side down and ended up 16th out of 24 that finished.

Birmingham Bikefest
I had a lot of fun at this race last year and was looking forward to it.  We got there early to cheer on some friends in the CAT4 and CAT5 races.  There were a lot of top guys at the race and I quickly realized, it was going to be fast.  There were attacks from the gun and the group was strung out for a lot of the race.  I found myself no in the race mentally… my head was thinking about CX and Crank the Shield.  I moved around a bit during the race, but was never a factor.  I sat up for the sprint and rolled across for 22nd out of the 35 starters.

This concludes my road racing for the year.  I am happy with my performance overall and I made it to CAT3, which was my primary goal.  I am still learning at every race and will be looking forward to testing myself next year and hope to be more of a factor in CAT3.