Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tailwind - Stony Marathon XC

I haven’t race the Stony Marathon since racing it in Sport 35-39 back in 2009 due to conflicts with vacations and other family events, so I was actually looking forward to it this year.  I was happy that it was moved to May after hearing the horror stories about the heat last year.  The weather this year was perfect and the rain the few days prior firmed the trail up nicely.  Training has been going well and I had a big rest/transition week coming into this race.  Usually this mean I will be a bit stale, but I was hoping that since this was going to be a long race that it wouldn't be an issue.
I arrived early and was obviously ready to race as I was pulled over by the Park Police for speeding in the park… they even yelled at Mary Ann who was following me!  Once we made it to the parking lot, we got the BSing out of the way and I recruited someone to hand up bottles.  After a good warm-up everyone was lined up and ready to go.  We had 9 guys at the line which is a pretty large group for SS, especially considering this is a 50 mile race with about 5000ft of climbing!  After the issues with traffic during or first 2 races, it was agreed to start us after the elites.  I liked the idea of this but was a little concerned about groups of the faster geared guys catching us and us being in their way! 

Coming into this race, I really didn't have much of a plan outside of wanting to be towards the front and hopefully leading going into the roller coaster.  At the gun, Todd Greene and I were side by side and I asked if he wanted to lead.  He look over and decided to settle onto my wheel.  Being in front puts a certain pressure on you to keep a good pace.  Joe and I talked about this after he led the first lap of Pontiac earlier in the year.  I felt good, so I decided to push the first few climbs at the beginning, including bombing the fast downhill in between, and keeping the cadence up on the flats to see what happened.  When I looked back on the 2 track before the pines, Todd was still with me, but we had a gap on the rest of the group.   At this point I decided to just keep it rolling and soon I was on my own.  I would periodically look back and see a glimpse of the group and then look for them at the start finish to assess the gap.  I caught a couple elite guys and would get a tow on the flats when I could.  The gap at the start finish seem consistent till the start of the last lap where it seem to have grown a bit, so I back it down just a notch to try and enjoy the end of the race.    In the middle of the roller coaster I looked back and saw the group coming through about 30s back!!  I still felt good, but started to worry and put the hammer down.  By the time I rolled through the short single track section before 3 gear hill, I couldn't see them and relaxed a bit and just focused on getting up 3 gear hill and making it to the finish.  I finished the grind up 3 gear hill and looked back one last time near the finish line to see I was in the clear and then soft pedaled in for the win!

Sorry for the "wall" of words, but I couldn't link to pictures from the photographer that was there, so here are a couple links if you wish to check them out!

The KLM train!

Cruising through the Roller Coaster!


Jon W9 said...

About time!

BrAdLaKo said...

Sandbagger....even the popo tried to slow you down! Nice work man... gotta make it stick tho...