Monday, July 18, 2011

Wrath of the

Boneyard Rookie Mistakes


What a killer course. Longest 4(ish) mile lap there is!! Wasn't exactly the same course I pre-rode but I liked it. It was interesting coming upon the Boneyard in reverse, but it was still ridable (not saying I cleaned it, but those better than I surely crushed it).

I got some great riding in the previous week and determined I would slow down about 4 days before the race, and I did so. For some reason I thought to myself, a ride on Saturday when we got down to Connecticut would be perfect to get me ready. I had planned on hitting up Gay City State Park as I remembered a nice loop with some climbs and figured that would be a good ride... hey, I pre rode the course up at Willowdale the day before the race, so I figured a decent ride would be ok. I discovered that Gay City is charging to park ($7 in state vehicles, $15 out of state) which was ridiculous to pay to ride, so I headed down the street to Case Mountain. Lesson(s) learned. The day before a race with some decent elevation involved - DON'T climb your ass off! (The second, irrelevant to the race lesson, Case has some really sweet singletrack and some amazing downhill stuff!)

After a night of crappy sleep I got a late start and was a bit rushed getting all set up and off warming up. I ran into Fabian and noticed that the start had been changed around. I took off on the totally new, redesigned course, and instantly felt nothing in my legs. Not numb nothing, but nothing nothing. Not good at all. I was cleaning every short as I previewed the new beginning, but knew that when it came to the later climbs I would be in serious trouble... silly rookie.

Started the Cat 3 (30-39) with 9 riders, which was better than what had pre-registered, so that was good. My plan at the start was to just ride with the pack, not push ahead in the first lap as I didn't know how far my legs would take me. The course was in amazing shape having a perfect week of weather leading up, which made things nice, if not dusty. There were only a few mud holes here and there, and of course coming into the 3rd hole I apparently took the deepest route and ended up going over the handlebars. I felt ok and the bike was fine so I jumped up and got going. Lost a spot or two, but that didn't really matter because the sufferfest for me was long and hot. I thought we would beat the heat with a 9:30 start time, but boy was it brutal out there. I think it was really the course that was taking it out of me, but I think I continued sweating for a good hour, hour and a half AFTER my race was finished.

Once the race got going it seemed like the only time I was passing anyone (in my category) was due to mechanicals. Normally that isn't a victory, but with the way I was feeling I was happy to take those passes. I was also glad that I am now running tubeless as it seems like pinch flats were the number one killer out there.

Although I had nothing in my legs to start, and I felt like I was going to die finishing up the second lap (BIG THANKS goes out to the spectator giving me that encouragement to muster all I had left to finish strong!!) I liked the course!! While I was out taking pictures of the Cat 1 and Pros we chatted with some guys from the motorcycle club and when asked if we would come back next year I didn't hesitate in saying YES! The course kicked my ass, but I think a rematch is in order.

Annie came out to support me, which I absolutely love and am grateful for. And she even let me stay to take photos of the Cat1/Pros (who didn't go of until 2), but I wasn't the only one taking pictures... Annie got a couple shots of me while racing.
Waiting to be sent off (I'm in the Ireland jersey)

Off the start in the parade lap

Finishing the first lap (I felt like death)

I was surprised to see Annie on this quick climb shortly after finishing the first lap
(she scrambled through the woods to get here)

I'd like to say it was my surprise that caused me to get bounced off the trail...
but no, it was exhaustion

Finally the finish


  1. Great job out there Mike! It takes a while to balance what is too much riding and not enough the week before a race. I think a lot of people "over-taper" and come into a race with stale legs. But yes it was hot. As I was hanging around watching the TdF yesterday morning, it was hard to believe it was over 80*F at 9:00 AM.

  2. Thanks Charlie, this season is certainly turning out to be a great learning lesson as to what I need to do moving forward for next season. And congratulations go out to you on grabbing first place!!

  3. Great race report Mike! I can't believe it took me this long to see it.