Monday, June 1, 2009

Brighton Stage Race

The Brighton Stage race is one of my favorite events in the Tailwind USAC XC Mountain Bike race series. You get a very old school technical rooty twisty single track trail of "Torn Shirt", the cyclocross flavor of the short track race, and the roller coaster fast trail of "Murray Lake Loop" all in one weekend. In the past I have done well in the stage race, and with my Build 2 complete and heading into my first peak week I was feeling good and ready to try and put up some respectable results.

Day 1 -- Torn Shirt 6 mile Time trial. I felt good through the entire race, but was not as clean as I should have been through some of the turns and short climbs. But I was able to shave off over 1 min. from my previous best time and snag 6th place out of 9. I'll take it. Then later in the day, it was on to the short track race.

Coming off of a real good cyclocross season, I was really looking forward to the short track race. I even brought along the cross bike just to top it off. In fact, I think about 50% of the field was on cross bikes. That was sweet! it was a mass start with 55 elite and expert racers all lined up and ready to sprint. I got to the line a little late and was forced near the back of the pack about 10 rows. Ouch! The whistle blew and I was off. I did not hold back anything. I picked my way through the pack all the way to the front. From there I continued to pass people every chance I got. I passed a lot of great racers. I'm talking about folks I felt I had no business passing in any race. And this just fueled me to keep trying to go faster. Throughout the race, my lap times got faster. And by my last lap, I was coming up on the tail end of the elite racers. I was able to snag 4th place this time and this really helped my confidence knowing that with a little more work, I can hang with the folks in expert.

Day 2 -- The Murray Lake XC race. Last year I cramped severely and this caused me to give up the overall lead for the series. So I wanted to perform better than I did the year before. I did not crack the top 5 but I did learn a lot and had a very solid race in which to build the rest of my season upon. My lap times were very consistent. at 36/36/37/37. I have struggled for 3 years to be this consistent. And my last lap felt just as strong as my first. I just need to go faster. The big difference from sport to expert is these guys can carve single track and descents like nothing I have ever seen before. I would be scared to go that fast on my bike through the woods! WOW! But I now know what I need to work on. I was rewarded with 10th place out of 18 for my efforts. So I accomplished one of my goals of at least cracking the top 10 in an expert race. I figured this is not too bad considering 5 of the guys that beat me only raced on Sunday. So if I had fresh legs could I have climbed up a few spots??? We will never know.

Overall I had a very solid weekend and am happy with my results. I even finished 5th out of 9 for the overall stage. So I will take it, as it puts me back into the points race.

Finally, great job to Brain Crook for his 2nd place, keep going! Brad Lako for his 3rd overall! Paul Wood for his 5th in the overall! Pete Thompson for his 2 second beating of me in the short track! And Mike Riffe for his great time he put up on Torn Shirt!

See you all next at Ruby!
(Thanks Steve Balogh for the great picture!)


Keith said...

Wow. Nice job John!

Todd Shorkey said...

Awesome John! Whay to have a great weekend!

wood said...

trying to get to ruby tonight for a pre-ride.

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