2012 Maine Sport Run Off
In a word, OUCH.
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.
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.
The rest tomorrow.