The build up for the Camden race this weekend continued last night. After a 12 1/2 hour work day that included over 4 hours of standing around outside in the sun talking about this and that, I headed over to Camden to get in a couple of laps on the race course. I had confirmed from the race promoter that the course was finally finished and marked so I was looking forward to seeing what the rest of the climb was going to be like and how the ensuing downhill would treat me. Unfortunately, because of the long work day I was unable to ride with Mr. Wheels as we had planned. Hopefully he was still able to get a couple of laps in.
My ride turned out pretty well. The very first part of the course is the climb that takes you to the top of the mountain before rewarding you with any and I do mean any downhill. 25 minutes (20 min at race pace) of suffering. Its still a tough climb but now that people are coming out the ride it some its at least getting packed down a bit. Hopefully more people will check it out over the next couple of days so we'll be in good shape come Sunday. On thing is for certain, after Sunday it will be primo. From the top of the mountain (where you have views out over lakes and Penobscot Bay) there are some very nice single track descents criss-crossing the ski trails as you make your way down. About half way down though the descent turns into a severe ass pucker section. There are a couple of spots that I'm not sure I'll ride during the race. I'll probably still be cross eyed from the climb at this point so I suspect running it will be safer and faster in the long run especially because I think the race will be won or lost on the climb of the last lap. From there, the trail dumps out onto the old course (shortened somewhat since the climb has been added in) where I'm much more comfortable because of the dozens upon dozens of times I've ridden there.
I ended up getting in two laps in about 1:40 which means that four laps on race day could easily take 2.5-3 hours, factor in the near 90 deg heat and it should be tough, fun and painful. I'm betting on a war of attrition so my goal will be to take it somewhat easy for the first couple of laps and see how it goes from there. When I won here two years ago I was sitting in 7th or 8th after the first lap or two and came on strong at the end so hopefully that tactic will work this weekend. We'll see.
I saw today that Skip Brown is doing a 100 miler this weekend so won't be here to contest this which is sort of a bummer. I really wanted to see how he did with his 36x16 gearing on the climb. I'm sure he'd still be able to ride all of it. Dirty bastard.