Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I DID race

Before I get on with the show you MUST go check out TheMutts page today.  I died laughing when I saw his "action" shot of me!!

I don't always build a bike, but when I do, I do the Harlem Shake.

TheMutt was kind enough to send over some evidence to prove I did some work during the build.  Like when I was spinning the cranks...

Or that time I was tying down the brake line and working on a sunburn

And of course, when I was riding around the yard

So, it is pretty much official.  After 6 long miles, 3 of which were on pavement I'm loving the singlespeed lifestyle.  

Since yesterday I've added another possible name into the mix - Simple Green.  Yeah it's a cleaning solution, but my bike is green, and with one gear - pretty damn simple.  I'm gonna give it a few more days, accumulate some more names and figure out how to do a survey all official like.  Or I'll just pick one and tell you all about that.  We shall see.

Ok, I've got to stop talking about the One9 today, because I'll likely be talking about it again tomorrow after tonight's group ride.  

So, let's get into the race on Sunday.  I mean, I've got another one this weekend so I've got to wrap this recap up!!  I got up early to head for Croft State Park in Spartanburg SC for the Stump Jump.  I hit 85 south and passed some landmarks that reminded me of the long drive from CT to UGA.

It always confused me why the giant peach was in SC and not GA...

I was tired for the entire 1:30 drive it took to get to the course.  My stomach wasn't too happy for some reason, so after checking in I visited the facilities.  As I got ready I scarfed down a clif bar and hydrated.  I headed out on the course for a warm up.  The course started in the grass and onto a short gravel grind, crossed a road to some "fun" grass, then up a short dirt climb to a big dirt decent banging a hard right into the singletrack.  

The singletrack here was fun and fast.  Beautiful even.  I wanted to stop to take a picture but I had left my phone in the pterodactyl, cause I don't need a phone to race.  I rode for a bit and then turned around - scientific.  I was watching the time, and knew I wanted to get back before 9:30.  But, for some reason it didn't click that my start time was 9:30 - until I showed up at the staging area and the Cat3 19-29 guys were going off and we were lining up.  THAT was close!!

The start sucked.  I was towards the back when we hit the gravel and I decided to just hang.  I figured I'd start really working the group once we hit the singletrack.  Once in I was stuck behind two riders.  The leader was doing ok, but just a tad slower than where I wanted to be and the guy in the middle just wouldn't pass!!  With the tight track and the constant twists there wasn't an opportunity to jump two at once.  

Luckily from my preride I had come upon a section that had a log crossing option or an end-around and I hoped that the two in front would go around so I could clear the logs and cut them off.  As I hoped, they both opted to go around so I went straight over the logs and got in front.  Unfortunately my move was short lived as we came upon a short steep climb that had riders ahead of us fumbling.  I came up fast and the rider stuck on the climb couldn't get out of my way fast enough forcing me to dismount - allowing the rider behind me to climb past me.  I jumped back on his wheel and followed him for a bit and was able to pass not too long after.  

At this point the field was spread and I worried that my time stuck in the beginning had given the leaders too large of a gap.  For the rest of the race I worked to gain ground on those ahead, and put in time on those behind.  

On the first lap I had a carrot to follow on the long, washed out service road climb.  By the top I was on him and soon after we got back into the singletrack he pulled to the right to let me go by.

Coming back through the start/finish the grass slowed me - I HATE riding in grass.  Hit the gravel and knew I had a rider on me so I just climbed without pushing.  I wanted to see who he was and let him push the pace if he wanted.  He passed me at the top but it was a rider from the 40-49 field so I let him go and worked my way back to the downhill and into the singletrack.  In the singletrack I was able to stay motivated initially because I did have a rider behind, so I pushed the pace and caught another rider, passing him and putting in a gap on the two behind.  I hit the short steep up fast and cleared it solidifying the gap I had on my two followers.

Now I was in no man's land.  Luckily the water crossing was coming, meaning the course doubles back a bit - so I looked through the trees and could see riders coming back from the water.  The chase was back on.  I was hoping I'd again catch riders on the service road climb, but I wasn't so lucky.  This time I was the carrot.  I was climbing ok, but couldn't find it in me to get up and push the climb.  Halfway up a rider passed and I couldn't tell if he was in my class or not, but I couldn't grab his wheel.  Now, it was the home stretch.  On the side of the trail was a fast rider from my class with a flat... maybe the lead isn't too far off??  I pushed the pace where I could and then it happened.

I wasn't hurt, just happened to park next to the ambulance
I clipped a tree.  I couldn't hold on and was headed straight for another so I had to bail.  This gave another rider just enough time to get past me.  I hustled back up and the chase was on.  Right before the last short steep climb I clipped a pedal, popping me out - so I ran the climb and the racer who flatted passed me with another teammate (who I was hoping was from the 40-49 field).  Again I got to chasing.

I knew the end was near and all of a sudden I could see the flatted racer struggling ahead.  He had lost his teammate and he seemed to be slowing.  I got to his wheel before we popped out of the singletrack and it was on!  We hit the pavement, gears popping as we both stomped.  He had the lead going into the gravel decent back to the finish line.  I hit the big ring and stomped, passing him in the gravel.  I held the lead into the grass and cleared the line.

After the finish I found the rider who had passed me while I was down from my crash, thankfully he was from the 40-49 field.  I had no idea where I was in the standings, but my gut was telling me it was a mid pack finish.  The start was just too slow to have been able to gain ground over the two laps.

Looking at my data you wouldn't really know that it was a race.  It did, after all, just look like a fast group ride.  And that is a really great description.  When I was behind another rider looking for a time/place to pass it felt like I was just on a fast group ride.  Sure we were moving quick, but I didn't really feel the push of a race.

But I can say this, those trails were FUN!!  TheMutt is talking about a trip down there for a group ride and I am 100% on board with that!!

I ended up finishing 8th out of 15.  After racing 2 races in the first 4 of the series I'm in 7th overall for the series.  I've got to start pushing harder on "training rides" if I'm gonna get back towards the top.  And I have to, cause I'm not staying in Cat3 next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment