Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Presque Isle

I'm way late with getting this post out but time continues to have it's way with me this summer and every time I turn around another week is gone, I haven't blogged enough and the house still isn't frickin done. Waaaaaaa!

Anyway, I had hoped to give the Presque Isle race a proper write-up but it appears, that aint happening. so here's a quick recap.

Race day came and my legs were feeling surprisingly good. I went out for a pre-ride/warm-up with Kevin and was absolutely amazed with the condition, flow and sheer funnery of the race course. For the most part it was very tame as far as technical skills needed for the course but the layout and trail construction were so spot on that the lack of dump truck loads of rocks and roots didn't deter from the fun. I might even go so far as say that it was much more funner than rocky, rooty courses. In fact, I'll go out on a limb here and say that it was the bestest, most funnest trail system out there. Ever. In the history of mankind. Ok, that might be a bit of a stretch but it was the best race course I've ever been on. Bar none.

Because of the long drive to the venue (5 hours for us) the turnout was small but at the start I found myself next to a few known riders (who most years I can best) and one unknown, fast looking mother f'er from the great white north.

The gun went off and I did my mad dash blender routine as I tried to stay in the top three over the opening 1/2 mile of fast paved cart path and hit the first climb 3rd wheel. I didn't know how the legs would be yet and I didn't want to blow it on the first climb so I settled in behind two knowns and let the canadian cruise past us. I briefly thought about chasing him but we were two minutes into the race and I was sitting on the wheel of the guy who beat me by one spot in the last race so I figured I'd be smart.

Most of the first lap was uneventful. For the start I felt our pace was pretty good but by the time we got through the first half of the lap I felt I needed to push the pace a bit. My HR was in the low 160's (my usual race average is mid 170's) so I looked for a good spot to pass. Unfortunately, on the fast switchback descents I made a little bobble and briefly lost contact and since I was all spun out in my 32/18 I bided (is that a word?) my time, caught them before the end of the lap and made my pass going up the initial climb on lap two.

end of lap one, finally caught back on.

From here I drilled it. Drilled it good. My legs were feeling awesome so I decided to try to reel in the Canadian up ahead. I didn't know the time gap but I figured he had a solid five minute lead. I blasted through the opening sections at what felt like double the first lap speed only to puncture my front tire on a punji stick in a dry stream crossing. No problem, I thought, since I have stans in the tire but after a couple of minutes of fiddling with it I realized it wasn't going to seal so I set about changing the tube. By this time (I'm guessing two minutes since I was totally knackered and race delirium) all the experts I had passed were coming back by me. After what seemed like forever, I finally got a tube in and inflated. Threw the wheel on the bike and started to run to remount only to have my bike endo on me. Huh? So I tried again and it endo'd again. What the frick? So I look down and see that I've put the wheel in backwards and the brake caliper was jammed in the spokes. WHAT-A-DOUCHE! Anyway, after mentally kicking myself in the nuts, I fixed the wheel and got back on the bike feeling sorry for myself and wanting to quit since 90% of the expert field had just passed me.

After I was back on the bike I realized that the legs were still there so I decided to drill it again, even harder this time, and see if I could catch all the guys who passed me. So I took off and marveled at how good the legs felt considering my even less than lack luster training and racing so far this year. I soon began to pick people off which only motivated me to push harder. I figured I'd give it everything I had and if I totally imploded half way through the last lap than so be it.

near the end of lap two

I entered the third and final lap back into fourth place still feeling strong. Somewhere in that lap I picked up one more spot and knew that second place was just up ahead, had to be less than a minute up. So I dug a bit deeper and started to hear the tell tale tinkle of chain slap just ahead of me in the switch back sections. Then, on the final bit of down hill, I caught my first glimpse of second place, maybe 20 seconds ahead so I gave it one final burst to try to close the gap. Unfortunately, the race was about 1 mile too short because as we popped out of the final short climb I saw Greg cross the line about 10 seconds up and 5:21 down on the winner. Hmm, maybe if I hadn't fiddled with the tire for so long I could have given him a run for his money. On the other hand, the winner could have been coasting since he had noone on his tail and might have taken off when I caught him anyway. Oh well, that's racing!


Kate said...

I saw your blog address on your reply to Tom's feedback seeking email. So glad I clicked over.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your race report! I only got to see the race from the paperwork end and the start and finish line. Exciting to hear the racer's perspective!
~Kate (FTF Registration)

rick is! said...

glad somebody enjoyed my blather besides me!

May said...

I much agree with your thoughts on the course. I was frustrated when we road Rangeley. I couldn't stop talking about the PI course for days. Simply amazing, and that's coming from a first timer douing this whole mt bike racing, and only my second year riding one. And much like Kate I also found your blog through the e-mail link. Thanks!

rick is! said...

May, come to the carrabasset race later in the year, you should enjoy that one. Also, get a team together and do the bradbury 12 in september. those are very sweet trails as well.