Fast Ass Race Report
Time is tight so instead of putting off posting this yet another day I'm going to try to be concise and to the point and not blather on and on like my race reports usually do.
The morning of the race, team manager and still fast as shit racer, Al, and I headed out for a pre-ride/warm-up. I wasn't sure of the gearing to use so I figured this would be my best chance to figure it out. Plus, we had an hour before the race started so I had plenty of time to do a 1/2 hr warm-up and make any gearing changes I deemed necessary. Soon into the pre-ride I was sure that I was undergeared. I didn't have to work hard at all with my 32/18 gear and it was just the warm-up so I knew that I'd need at least a 32/17 or maybe even a 16. I decided that once we got back, I'd be safe and go with the 17 so I wouldn't spin quite as much on the cart path sections but I wouldn't die a thousand deaths on the super technical sections trying to push too hard of a gear. So, where is there a good turn around point on this course? Apparently nowhere because we couldn't find a single place to cut across to a later part of the course and quickly realized that we'd be getting back just in time for the start. Frig.
Five minutes before 10 we finally get back and I have just enough time to check my bottles, grab my gel and pop a couple of endurolytes. No gear changes for this kid. At least I was thoroughly warmed up. My average ride time this year is roughly 1:15 so a 55 minute warm-up seemed like it might have been a bit much.
Trying to look tough at the start line. Everyone in this pic (except one) would beat me on the day.
From the start, the race has about 1 mile of cart path type riding with a couple of quick tech sections to sort things out and it was here that I was immediately put into a world of hurt. My gear was way too low but I knew I had to stay in contact with the top 4 when we entered the woods or else all would be lost so I spun my meager little brains out and held on for the first 3/4's of a mile and then finally had to surrender and settle into a more reasonable pace. Once in the woods I did manage to regain contact in the super technical trails. Unfortunately, given my earlier crazy spinning, my lack of fitness, and the fact that this was my first ride on really technical trails of the season, I was unable to hold their wheels for long and watched as they slowly slipped away.
About 2/3's of the way into lap one I was essentially by myself in 6th or 7th place. Thankfully, despite not being able to contend with the leaders, I was feeling great and having a frickin blast. Towards the end of the first lap, on an amazingly long gravel road section that had my legs in a blur, I caught sight of a competitor in the distance so for the next lap I focused on slowly reeling him in.
By halfway into the second lap I had closed the gap to between 5-10 seconds to the next rider but was unable to close the final gap. The rider wore the jersey of the local team and from his riding, it was obvious that he had the super tech course dialed. Finally, when we reached the final long gravel road I was able to make contact and I drafted off the other rider for a minute or two while I rested (that's a relative term of course). Finally, I decided to up the pace and try to shed my compatriot (he was also on a single speed) and immediately opened a big gap to start the final lap.
one of the least technical section on the course
I continued grinding out the third lap but soon found the other rider back on my heels in the tech stuff. I soon bobbled (somewhat on purpose) and let him pass so that I wouldn't have the mental challenge of holding him off. I kept him in range through the rest of the lap and pulled up on his wheel, once again, on the final road section. Again, I drafted off him and planned my attack to happen just before we entered the final, short tech section.
Sensing my plan, the other rider slowed significantly so I pulled up beside him for a chat. We soon found out we weren't even direct competitors since he was in the single speed class and I was in the expert class. As a result, we decided to ride together for the last section and finish the race like gentlemen (I have to be one sometime).
I rolled across the line after 2:15 of racing with a 6th place finish (out of 14), cramps tingling in my legs and a smile on my face.
Boy do I love racing.
Ok, that wasn't really a quick race report. My apologies.