Monday, March 18, 2013

4th and goal

Sunday was my first race of the season in the Southern Classic Series, Bouldergeist III.  This course, held at San-Lee Park, had it all.  Tight switchbacks, fast trails, a jump line, nice berms, and of course rocks.  Rocks strewn throughout the trail, big boulders to roll, and even a nice climbing rock garden.  Oh yeah, there were roots too.  And I loved every minute of it.

This was such a departure from the winter short track series (just pounding as hard as you can go over smooth trail) and really reminded me of why I love XC racing.  Sure I was sore and tired by the end of it, wondering where the trail would pop out so I could climb back up the start hill to the finish line.  But that's the glory of it, to ride your hardest on a trail that is challenging.

I must say, for having never ridden the trail before I was very proud of my performance on the technical sections.  Pre-riding probably would have helped my speed through some of the faster sections, but over all I was happy with my performance.

Before the race I did ride the intro section of the course up to "bouldergeist."  There was a tight steep switchback leading up to the big rock roller and I knew that would be a place that either I or other riders would get hung up.  Then into the fun.  The roller wasn't bad, it was making sure you were in line for the sharp left that quickly followed was the key to riding this section.  There seemed to be two lines.  The quick hard left utilizing a nice "rock berm" that was in the middle of the trail, or go wide around it. I rolled up right at it to look at the lines.  The outside was clearly chewed up with dragging wheels as riders grabbed fistfuls of breaks... didn't look like the line I wanted.  If you went too wide you'd be down in the creek.  There was a guy setting up the sponsor banners and I commented that it looked like the inside was the way to go.  He concurred.  He also gave me a little hint as to where to come off the roller to be set up perfectly for it.  It was a great hint indeed.

When race time came around I took full advantage of my "insider" knowledge and cleaned the section flawlessly.  Well, THAT section at least.  Remember, I hadn't actually ridden the rock berm and down across the creek crossing.

The approach
Headed right for "dismount"
Off and clear
Lining up to utilize the rock berm
getting it
what's that guy over there on the left of the trail doing?
Yup, as I was headed to ride the rocks built over the creek bed I made the mistake of looking at the guy standing with his bike off to the side of the trail.  What happened next?  Over the bars I went as I crossed the rocks.  Luckily I rolled free and into the trail, my bike was fine, but launched my water bottle.  I got up quickly, grabbing my bottle and stuffing it back in it's cage, and I was back and riding.  Only problem was that now the rider in front had put in a gap.  And, of course, confidence was a bit shaken for a while...

The race was long, but this post doesn't have to be... so I'll get the rest of the story and results to you tomorrow... unless, of course, you are a detective.  Then you likely already know the results.    

*Thanks go out to my teammate Sean for the pictures

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