Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pontiac lake TT! It's On!

My official race season began today with the Tailwind USAC Michigan State Championship XC MTB Series with the Pontiac Lake Time Trail. This race is one of my top 3 with the Pontiac Lake XC race being in that mix also. So for me, I wanted to do very well especially with the Brighton Stage race right around the corner. Today would be a big test. Would my fitness be on track? Could I crack the top 5 in one of my favorite races? Well Mother Nature let us all know that it was still spring. And that it would not be an early season mountain bike race if there wasn't a bit of mud to go around. But she decided to play nice and give us a few hour break and get in some racing. The course drained well, and was still technical and fast. The rain did not keep a lot of folks at home as I expected. The parking lot was full. And almost ever class was huge. This is great news for the State's economy, Tailwind, and the sport of mountain bike racing in Michigan. Hopefully we can start growing the sport again....

As for the racing, I was feeling good. My training has been right on schedule and the first few "tester" races I did early on were pointing to a good day for me at Pontiac. So I lined up and was off. The entire time I was going as hard as I could, but still felt comfortable on all the climbs. The course was still wet and muddy in the corners, but my big 29er Crossmax wheels with Karma rubber hooked up well and gave me the confidence to take some risk and push harder. After my first lap, I was curious as to how I would feel for the rest of the race, but my legs were right on. I kept up a high pace for as long as I could, and did not hold back. About 4 miles from the finish, my seat post decide to reposition my seat for me. So I was force to sit on the point of my saddle for the rest of the race. This was very uncomfortable, but I did not panic. And then shortly after that, a large vine hanging across the trail decided to clothesline me and almost took me off my bike. Again, I gathered my composure and pushed on. The trail was in great shape by now and I was almost done. I big ringed it all the way to the end until my legs filled with lactic acid. I was done. My laps were 43 and 45 mins. Wow! Those were some on my best lap times ever, I thought to myself. This was also good enough for me to hold on to 5th place out of 17 racers. I hit one of my goals!

But my day was not over. As the course improved, I was getting geeked to do some single speed racing. I was not sure how well I would do since I just spent myself in the first race. So I lined up and was off. And within a few mins, the switch went off in my head and I was racing again! I could not believe how well I was feeling. So again, I pushed as hard as I could and felt strong all the way to the end. When I crossed the line I was surprised to see that I knocked out a 44 min lap! This time I did not step onto the podium, but I did get a respectable 7th out of 10.

So my fitness appears to be on. And with a podium finish my confidence is high too. So my next focus is the Brighton Stage race. Next to the Iceman, this will probably be my big mountain bike race of the year... We will see.

Congrats to Brad and Shawn. You guys put in a fine effort today and will be hard to beat as the season goes on.


bIgBrAiNoNbRaD said...

Awesome effort John... all your hard work is paying dividends!

I look forward to battling it out all season long - hopefully!

Keith said...

Nice result John!

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