Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Pinnacle, A Race Report

Pre-ride. We came to New Hampster a day early so that I could get two good pre-rides on the course. One on Saturday and one on Sunday as my warm-up. Saturday I ran into a trail running race and only hit part of the course. What I did hit was the shit though. I was told that the mtb course would be marked on Sunday so I went out uber early to get a lap in before we had to pack up and get out of the hotel. Too bad I found out after this pre-ride that I had actually done the first loop of the novice race. That's 0 for 2. I did two pre-rides and still had little to no clue what the race was going to be like.

Before the race I did a shitty, half assed warm-up because I was busier socializing than getting my act together so when the gun went off and the huge field of experts went into the woods I was a bit worried. In the sprint across the field I was probably 10 or so riders back but was able to move around most of the group and enter the woods either third or fourth wheel which I figured was pretty good since we had a bunch of open climbing ahead.

That lil ol' me on the far right.
A couple folks passed me on the opening climbs but I was being careful not to over cook myself. The legs were obviously not warmed up enough so I knew I needed to ease into the race. I had Bob Carney (series leader and ripper offer of legs at the Rumpus) just ahead of me so I was happy with my position. Soon, we caught up to the back end of the Expert Senior 1 and 2 fields and this is where the madness began. There were people everywhere so any chance I got I would sprint around other riders. On one open climb, one that I had marked as a good passing place in my pre-ride, I was able to pass 6 people by riding in a slightly less desirable but totally rideable line. I think this was when I passed Bob which made me happy since I'd be able to put a few people between us and force him to chase me for a change (that is if he even knew who I was and that I was up there). The rest of lap one was a conga line in the woods. I rode everything cleanly despite the traffic but got frustrated on several occasions when riders in front of us bobbled, got off and started walking up the trail. Annoying.

When we got to the top of the climb I was really able to let it rip. With the help of KillBill and a little practice I've turned into a much better descender and was able to close all sorts of gaps and made some very good time despite the traffic. At one point during the downhill I broke the cardinal "no swearing" rule by announcing that the downhill was so f'ing good they should package it for sale. Yep, I was loving it.

At the beginning of lap two my lack of climbing fitness started to rear it's ugly head. A couple of guys passed me in the opening climb and I had nothing to respond with so I bided my time and hoped to pull them back in on the downside. Which I kinda did. Unfortunately, because of all the traffic in the first two laps I had no clue who or where the leaders in my class were. I hoped that I was looking at a podium but felt for sure that I was somewhere in the 5-6 range. Regardless, I always rate my races by my overall placing and not my age class so I knew I was having a good race considering the amount of passing I had been able to do.

zoomy zoom
Lap three was where the hurting really began. I was still yo-yo'ing with a couple of expert riders who were definitely stronger on the climbs but I was able to pull them in on most of the tech downhill sections. The last 2 miles consisted of me and one other dude hauling some serious ass through the last few sections. Me on his wheel (or slightly off) and him just frickin nailing everything. It was a rip and helped me forget the pain in my body and helped us drop a guy who had been closing in. We hit the final Pinnacle Plunge with only a few seconds between us but he managed to stay ahead of me to the finish.

The Plunge. I'm not sure of the grade of this beast but you can easily hit 40 mph in the short drop.
When I rolled over to where Marcy and B were hanging out with some friends marcy told me that she thought I was 2nd or 3rd since only a few people had finished. I couldn't imagine it was true but it turned out I was 3rd in the expert vet field and 5/64-ish in the entire expert field. I'll take that. Given my total lack of focus or riding volume (hovering around a 5-6 hour per week average) I'll take a solid top 10% finish any day. Especially against such a huge field.


Big Bikes said...

Nice job man.
So much hurting on that course...
but so much pay off.


rick is! said...

yeah, good times for sure.

Miff said...

That is awesome.
Nice work!!!
And The Plunge looks even more awesome!
Move over downhill boys!