Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Iron Hill Week

Iron Hill is scheduled for this Sunday. Iron Hill is the place where many of the Delaware/MD/PA riders go their start, either racing or just riding MTB. For a small park, the place offers a lot: Challenging climbs, rocky trails, rock gardens, whoops, fast descents, and just a really fun place to ride. Many of the trail names are known to the local riders and some are as colorful as the place once was. I got to ride a fast lap on Sunday with a local Jedi and then two more fast laps on Monday, pretty much have the course dialed in. Expectations are high for this weekend. Hopefully the rest of my Allied Milk teammates will be in attendance this weekend as well and we can take a big chunk of the small team competition points.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fair Hill Race Report

The day started a little earlier than average. Up at 5:30, breakfast and coffee made, eat as much as possible and drink as much water as possible. Arrived at Granogue around 6:30 and made my way to registration. Lauri Webber had a great system set up and I trained the other early workers and got ready to register the 32 pre-registered marathon racers. Around 8:00 or so, I left registration to get ready for my 9:00 race. Warmed up on the road a little bit, dumped my vest and arm warmers, and took my place in the staging pens.

Before I knew it, my group was at the starting line and next to go. Fat Marc set us off and I fight my temptation to go hard off the front. I still find myself at the front, but decided to just sit in and not get too excited. Former Fort Mate Richard Bilson and his C3 teammate start to pull away from the rest of us towards the tower. I sit back and wait for someone else to chase, but after about 5 seconds of this, I decide to bridge up to their wheels. Rich led us up the Tower Climb and we hold formation to the top. Once on the other side of the tower, a few folks get around me, and then slow me up big time on the singletrack climb out to the cross-roads. Into the new singletrack section and through Deputy’s Woods, I am definitely in the wrong place and get held up a lot. I found it faster to just get off the bike and run around some of the riders who are slowing me up. By the end of Deputy’s Woods, things are more open and I start to move forward. I also pass the last place singlespeed rider right after the road crossing. The trend of passing the singlespeed riders continues for the rest of the race and I pass all but the top three SS racers by the end of the race.

The rest of the race was mostly uneventful except for my exchanges with Chris Y from D and Q. He and I start exchanging positions about halfway through the first lap and this continued to almost the end of the race. He had more power than me on the open sections, like the road climb, and was a much better descender. I rode uphill a bit better and ran better. I casually mention we could wait until the end to fight out who would finish first and he replied “Or we could just continue to sort it out now”. He got away from me at the end of the first lap and I did not see him again until the river trail, where he stopped to clean his bike. I told him I was going to go ahead and attack him and he said fine. He jumped on his bike and hung with me for the rest of the lap. I asked him if I thought we were close to the top ten and he told me we were in the top five, which turned out to be true. We both advanced forward, but never caught anyone from our class. He did have two teammates up ahead and we saw one of them at the top of the last singletrack climb. Chris attacked me on this section and got away. I never saw him again. It was about this time that my rear shifter crapped out, leaving me with two front rings and only a 34 in the rear. I switched to the big ring and stayed there until the end of the race, ending up in 6th place for the day. One place away from the podium.

The next MTB race in the MASS is not until the end of this month. This is the Iron Hill race, an event that I am looking forward to competing in.

Major props to Rich Bilson, who ended up 2nd in Vet I and had a blazing first lap time.

Pictures by the uncomparable Dennis Smith

Monday, May 4, 2009

So. Darn. Close.

More later, but I was so close to hitting the podium yesterday, I could taste it. During the race, I was actually in a podium spot, only to lose it in the last mile of the race. Great course. Awesome MTB conditions, and an interview on http://www.cyclingdirt.com/ right here.

I will post my race recap tomorrow, but suffice to say I was pleased with my finish. I also figured out that I blew my Fair Hill Result in the first 60 seconds of the race. The rider who finished directly in front of me at Fair Hill commented when he saw me at Granogue about how fast the FH start was. In pictures, he was right behind me in the starting line sprint. At Granogue, he finished up in 3rd or 4th position. I did not overcook myself at the start of Granogue and was able to do much better as a result. I was stupid at Fair Hill, drew other riders out in my stupidity, and they suffered a similiar fate. Lesson learned. No more sprint starts for me.

Big thanks to this guy and a well timed comment about my race performance. Your words made a lot of sense Travis and when I read them last Thursday, I started feeling good about my chances at Granogue. Your advice, as small as it may seem to you, continues to help me get where I want to be. Knowing you were here before and seeing where you ended up helps a lot, like when Julian Michaels on the Biggest loser pulls out her fat pictures!

Race Recap will be posted soon.