Sunday, August 7, 2011

...A New Hope!

Sorry for opening with a Star Wars phrase, but I am a bit of Star Wars nerd. However, I finally had some things come together for me in a mountain bike race this year. With CX in the horizon, I have taken my training up a notch. And now I got a little something to build on.

Today was the Big M race USAC XC mountain bike race near Manistee, Mi. It was not originally on my calendar, but a few folks on the team were going to make the trip, and since I have not been on the podium this year I figured I would try to give myself one more chance. The course was in awesome shape and the fast as hell! I was surprised at all the guys that actually made the long trip up to race. All the big names in my class were there minus my good friend Lako.

The whistle blew, and I got a good position. I was able to maintain the pace of the top 5 guys with no issues . Then we started getting to the climbs, and I was hanging on, but slowly started to drift back. I was still in a good position, and then saw Jim Bonnel falling back and fast. I passed him on a climb, and looked up and saw Brain Harris appear to be struggling on the climbs also. I put in an attack and pulled away from Brain. Soon after he was on my wheel again and passed me at the bottom of the long sandy downhill. I figured I would ride his wheel again for as long as I could. By the time we got to the long false flat, I was putting in huge time between us. I looked back and could not see him any longer. I knew I was in at least 5th place at this time and was feeling good. When the last lap started, I knew I had enough gas to make it to the end, but did not want to go too hard and risking cramping. With about 2 miles to go, I saw Brain again. This time he pulled back onto my wheel, and passed me! Knowing there were some bigger climbs just ahead, Brian being a better descender than I, and a chance to get my first podium of the year within grasp, I wasn't going to give it up that easy! I made a huge attack up the next climb in the biggest gear I could manage, and time trailed as hard as I could to the line. The entire time, I was maxed out, and not 100% sure if I dropped Brian or if he was with me. Climb after climb I hammered it. On the last long sandy downhill, I peaked back and saw the team colors of Brian's team. Not knowing if it was him I took every risk I could on the decent. He never passed me. Then into the final sprint, I took the last corner too fast and went down. I was able to remount my bike very fast and sprinted for the line. The Cross Country Cycle rider was not Brian. He came in a minute or so later. I finally nailed my first podium of the year for mountain bike racing. 4th place.


Aryn Pongratz said...

Nice job bro! Keep the hammer down and "Stay on Target."

Paynful said...

Hey!! I wasn't there! ;)

Nice job big guy!

jbhancock said...

Awesome John!