Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Doing Battle at the Fort

The 2nd to last race of the Tailwind XC MTB racing series for this year was one of my favorite places to ride and race. Fort Custer State Rec area. This place has everything you could ever wish for in a MTB trail. And as the Cyclocross season approaches, this is the perfect race to test how my training has been going. The course is a 14 mile loop for a 1 hr max effort TT. In a nut shell it went OK. I felt like a million bucks before, during and after the race. But I did have some issues.

For starters, I could not stay on the bike in the first race and this basically caused me to lose too much time overall to be a real contender. The first stop was in the trenches. The guy that went off with me in the start house crashed and looked like he broke his wrist. Since it was about 2-3 inches from where it should have been placed on his arm. When I seen this I slammed on the brakes and focused my attention on making sure there was nothing else seriously wrong with him or that he did not go into shock. I asked him several time if he needed me to help him out or go and get help. He declined every time. When I was finally convinced that he would be OK on his own and declined my last offer of help, I started racing again. I finally got a good groove going again, and was hitting speeds of 20 mph in some sections of flat single track. About half way through I caught the edge of a sandy off camber down hill and the sand let go throwing me to the ground. Ouch! Did and quick inventory and got back on. Found my rhythm again and pushed as hard as I could. Then I began to pick a few folks off. Sweet! I am rocking. I got about 2 miles away from the finish and was on this dudes wheel. We started to go down hill and I caught a small tree with my handlebar. I did not completely crash, But I did hit hard enough to spin my handlebars about 6 inches off of center. I tried to finish the race with crooked handlebars but it was not working. So I stopped again to straighten them out. I finally finished in a time of 1:04. Not bad considering. It was faster than last year's time and the course was about a 1/2 mile longer. But I feel if I could have stayed moving the whole time I would have came in at 1:03 or even 1:02. Maybe next year.

But my day was not over. This was after all just another training day for CX right? So I entered the Single Speed race. This race went much better in terms of rhythm. I stayed upright the entire time. I was only able to manage a 1:08 on the clock. I pushed a 34x16, so maybe a different choice of gears would have helped. But in the end, I still think it was a solid time on a tough course to race 2 times in a day on. And the best part -- I felt like a million bucks.

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