The Carrabassett 50-60 somewhat-ish was Sunday. It's been a while since I've had so much fun while hating myself. Sadly, I'm up to my short and curlies this week as I dash around getting shit done for work while I quietly fret about SS USA this coming weekend.
Maybe a race report tomorrow. If you'd like to skip to the chase, you can see the Carrabassett results HERE. Here's a hint, I pussed out and raced expert instead of elite. Sue me.
In late winter, when I checked off my planned races for this season, one important block of races stood out. The Run Off, The Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge (I just call it the Carrabassett 60) and SS USA. Three races that I wanted to key in on. Well, The Run Off happened this past weekend with what I'll consider a successful outcome for me (I did beat two whole people and would have beat most of the expert field) and this weekend is the Carrabassett 60 (there are a lot of letters even in the shortened version) and I'm psyched. Last year was the first ever C60 so it had it's hiccups but, overall, it was a super fun race even if I did want to shoot myself in the face in the last 8 miles. Since then, the C Region NEMBA has been super busy improving and making new trails so that this year's version will be even better. Personally, if they got rid of that one STEEP skidder road climb I'd be happy.
Once again, WillC is hooking us up with a sweet condo the night before which I'm sure will mean beers and tour watchage and very little sleep as it did last year. Note to self, bring a fan this weekend.
Not much more to say so I'll leave you with this, a video recap of last year's race that I just found yesterday. Enjoy.
so much for technology. Yesterday, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to put up part two so I ATTEMPTED to do a quick post from the new to me blogger app. after much furious front of phone stabbing, I had a quick post that I tried to upload. Unfortunately, I got the spiraling "working on it" symbol and that is all. Trust me when I say it was some of my best work. You'll have to take my word for it.
Ok, so back at it. So now I find myself in the part of the course where I feel like I can rip. I'm good at semi fast, technical stuff, I'm not so good at super fast, downhill technical stuff so I was very happy to get into the backcountry portion of the course. Sections of the course are very much like my home trails so I literally railed those bastards as I kept a very fearful ear out for Alby and unidentified expert #1 creeping up my rear. I was so intent on riding fast and sceered that I allowed my front wheel to drop off the edge of a 10" bridge doing a nice endo into the ditch. A quick assessment said the bike was fine as was the body except for a throbbing shin but my shins typically throb with awesome so I was able to ignore it.
I finished up lap one in just over an hour (better than I expected) and feeling surprising good but still fearful of what was to come. I grabbed my second bottle from Marcy which would mean that I have three bottles for a 3-ish hour race. Would this lead to drama? Who knows.
The cool thing about the Camden course is that you lap through at the base lodge and there is always a good crowd gathered so I made an impressive showing hauling through the grassy slight uphill and then literally threw out the anchor as soon as I got around the corner and out of sight.
Thankfully, the rest of the laps were shortened so that you didn't have to do the full climb which I was much appreciative of even though the shortened climb was still a solid 7-8 minutes. As I started lap two, I saw Mr. ADD Alby just ahead on the climb maybe 10 seconds ahead. I cheered out loud about catching him and he gave me some lame excuse about having a slow leak and having to stop or something. Whatever, I wasn't listening, instead I was plotting how I was going to dispose of his body after I KILLED him on the climb.
Sadly, my legs didn't agree with my brain and Alby was able to hold his advantage during the climb and then literally blasted away on the first fast technical descent. I thought for sure that was the last I'd see of him so I licked my wounds and soldiered on.
When I finally entered the backcountry, I caught up to Alby once again as he was having trouble with line choices (and a sore back) so this time I took my opportunity, passed him with more conviction than my body would have preferred on a quick uphill and then ran like hell.
Lap 2 finished up with another very impressive run past the lodge and then a squealing of brakes as I rounded the corner for yet another climb. Lap three was mostly uneventful other than catching a bunch of sport riders while keeping a mindful ear out for anybody catching me which they thankfully didn't do.
I finished lap 3 of 4 at 2:38, just 7 minutes shy of the mercy time of 2:45 (because of the length of the race they decided to shorten the end of the race so nobody was out there much more than 3 hours). I didn't know when or where I'd get pulled from the course but I knew it was coming and I hoped it was soon. Very soon. I waited, nay, prayed for a course marshal around every corner because I was feeling like a bag of smashed assholes and finally got my wish mid lap when I got to peel off and do the final downhill to the finish. I crossed the line at 2:58 in 6th place in the elite field. Andrew Freye would finish about 12 minutes later to take the victory.
I've been racing at the Snow Bowl for years not (easily 10) and the course has changed quite a bit in that time, mostly for the better. One little hitch that caused this year's course to be changed was the town deciding to put an XC ski corridor in an area of primo singletrack, the best stuff on the mountain actually. So Mike and the crew had to get creative. There was lots of stuff out there but how to connect it? Until race day, I didn't know how they would do it but they pulled it off and made everybody cry uncle in the process.
Big Al and I did a quick pre-ride of the beginning and end of the course so we'd at least know what to expect there and I was glad that we did because it revealed a new wrinkle in the finish approach. Just when you think you're finally done with climbing for the lap, one last kick to the groin climb is thrown in for good measure. Mike and the crew had designed a beast.
We roll to the start line and Mike starts to give his spiel. Lots of yada yada yada and then a round house "experts will be doing one long lap and two short laps and elites will be doing one long and THREE short laps". Right there I thought I might die and really started to think that two freaking bottles just might not be enough for a race that was now likely to take 3 hours and have temps in the 80's. Oops. I guess that's what you get when you don't research races ahead of time. Thankfully, I had given Marcy an emergency bottle which I was now sure to use.
As usual, since the race is so far away from a lot of folks, the starting field was small-ish but still pretty stacked including Andrew Freye, ADD Alby, Brad Perley and Pete frickin Webber. My start plan was simple, take it easy (for a race) on the opening 20 minute climb and then see what I could do from there. I generally do better the longer a race goes (within reason) so I hoped this strategery would work. If nothing else, it should keep me from totally imploding 1 hour into the race.
Alby at the start
Big Al with me on his heels.
When the gun went off, about 10 folks jumped ahead of me to start the loooooonnnnnnngggggg climb. I settled into a reasonable pace and plugged away picking up one spot to the top. Once at the top, I took a swig of water and readied myself for the descent and then saw that the sadists that designed the course had added ANOTHER climb to the top of the typical climb. Nothing huge but another minute or so in full sun climbing up a bunch of exposed granite ledges. It was actually pretty cool riding but it couldn't have been less welcome at this point.
During the whole climb, KillBill was just a few seconds behind me. I knew that he'd likely pass me on the downhill (he's the current Strava KOM for the descent) so I tried to gap him but within seconds of starting down, he was on my heels. A few minutes in, I offered to let him pass but he declined so my job became to try to lose him and the other rider who were on my heels.
Before long, we were off the descent and onto trails that I can actually rip on.
We all know that I'm a very gifted writer and mountain bike racer extraordinaire, but you probably didn't know how awesome I am at my job (though you probably had already guessed...). Well, now you know:
Most of you probably already know about Strava and it's ability to rank ride segments. You may have even heard about it in the news recently when they were sued by the family of a man who died trying to reclaim his KOM for a fast road descent in California. I, of course, think the lawsuit is el-stupido, but that isn't why I think Strava is evil. It's evil because once you claim a KOM or get a 2nd or 3rd, you are consumed with trying to best the other times or improve yours to retain your crown. I've just recently started to use Strava and it is already the bane/salvation of my existence. A couple of my Strava buddies have KOM's in my area so, yesterday, as I was pondering my ride plan I decided to try to beat a couple of them. It was unlikely to work since they were late enough in my planned 60 mile ride that I was probably going to already be smoked but I was going to give them a shot anyway.
First up was WillC's title on Blinn hill. I already held the third place spot but I hoped that with a little luck, I could unseat Willy. Unfortunately, the legs didn't have it but I did, in the process, turn myself inside out trying which I likely wouldn't have done otherwise so thank you Strava for making me kill myself on a climb only a third of the way into a 3.5 mile ride. Thanks a bunch.
Second up was TomH's title on a short section of road in Nobleboro. I had unsuccessfully contested the section on Saturday because I had started on the wrong road so I decided to try again after 3 hours on Sunday (I have mentioned that I haven't done a ride over three hours yet this year right?). I drilled the section, much to my screaming legs chagrin, and knew, just KNEW that I had bested Tom's time. That is until I struggled the last 1/2 hour home and uploaded the gps data and found out that Tom had very sneakily added a tiny little section on a connecting road so Strava didn't recognize the effort. farging cork suckers.
Oh well, I guess I have a couple of KOM's to chase.
I haven't done a riding self pic in a while. Guess I'm rusty.
First ride over 40 miles this year. I've had a slow, sad start to my season.
Damariscotta Lake for Bunker Hill
It has become exceptionally clear to me recently that endurance is my achilles heal which isn't good when you have a bunch of 3-6 hour races coming up so I've vowed to do one 3+ hour ride a week for the rest of the season. We'll see how that goes.
Well, I'm back from a long weekend of fun in the sun and various other shenanigans. Firstly, Thursday was Marcy's and my 10 year anniversary. Kudos to her for sticking it out this long. To reward her for all of her hard work, we spent the day at a luxurious inn with an ocean side vanishing edge pool and hot tub
and then followed that up by going to Pop the Cork 2012, a GIANT party put on as a charity to benefit something or other. For me, the most important thing was they you buy your ticket and then it's all of the booze and food (ie - oysters, shrimp, etc) you can consume.
I literally hung out at the end of the oyster bar and SCARFED
plus, they had (I think) 5 bands playing through out the evening culminating with Boyz II Men. I know, I know, it seemed kind of lame but after a couple dozen oysters and close to that many beers, they sounded damn good. You just had to get into the spirit.
beginning to get into the spirit
After the show was over, we snuck back stage, managed to not get tossed on our asses by any roadies and accosted the group while they were walking, in the dark, back to their car. In hindsight, we're lucky we didn't get a beat down (Marcy was smart and held back until we welcomed. smart girl) but I can be a smooth son of a bitch so all was good.
Marcy (in the dark blue dress) and a couple of friends
posing with the Supremes (with penises)
the secondly and thirdly's involved riding but I've run out of time for today. later.