Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FInally - Getting the best of Stony Creek!

My love hate love saga with Stony ended this year with me finally getting the best of that damn place! And it unofficially closes the end to one of my personal best Mountain Bike Racing seasons ever! Training has been going well, and my overall results have been more than I expected all season. I never really considered myself a great XC racer, but I have proved this year that I can not only race near the top of the expert class, but I can do it week in and week out. As a result, I wrapped up 2nd overall in the Tailwind USAC Michigan State Mountain Bike Points series, and 2nd overall for the XC State Championship! This is something I have not done since racing sport in 2009. So needless to say, I am very happy with how the season has turn out and have a lot of confidence moving forward into cyclocross. But before I move on, I want to tell you about the race at Stony itself. It was one of the best and funnest races I ever had.

It all started out with the call ups. Brad and I took the first 2 spots on the line and the rest fall in. As expected, there were some very fast guys showing up for the last race. Jeff Cergat, Adam Naish, Simon Bailey, and Josh McCreedy just to name a few. And then there were the usual suspects that we have been battling all year. Aryn Pongratz, Dub-9, Todd Freidinger and a few others. I knew I had 2nd overall wrapped up so there really wasn't a lot of pressure for me at the start. As always, the whistle blew and we were off. Brad took the lead at the start with a blistering pace. Followed by Jeff and then me. We splintered the group quickly, and a large gap formed. I backed off soon after because I knew I would pop at that pace. Soon Todd joined me, and we were able to pace our selves and trade pulls for 3 laps. We set a really good pace and played off each other's strengths. Right after the 3rd lap started, Josh joined us and was looking strong. I started to worry that we were falling off the pace and soon would be caught by the entire group. Todd and Josh seemed like they were stronger than I was and I soon found myself slipping off the back and into 5th place. Then through the trees, I could see the black kit of Dub-9. "How in the hell is he going so fast?" I thought. Shortly into the Pines, Jon Caught us and passed like we were standing still.... Josh reacted Todd and I stuck together. We made it to the 4th lap and Jon had pulled ahead of the group and was on his own. Josh, Todd and myself were back together and looking to make something happen. Up the long climb at the start of the loop I took the first pull and made a dig. I realized then that Todd had fallen off and it was just Josh and I. Josh said "lets get him John" and we began the chase. I could not match Josh in the single track, and he pulled away. Then on the flats I caught him. He had cramped and we were back together. We could now see Jon and I began to dig deep. Josh crashed out, so it was up to me. Jon finally realized I was clawing my way back as he looked back. I was taking every inch I could to bridge the gap. I knew if I could get on his wheel before the last climb, I had a chance of beating him since the last 1.5-2.0 miles was all flat 2 track. As we approached the climb I was within yards of making the catch. I could tell he was turning himself inside out to stay ahead, but so was I. We crested the climb and bombed down the hill. I was still inching closer. We got caught up with 2 riders of the 40-49 class and rode with them till the end. Right before the last turn into the start finish area, I finally made contact with Jon. We had just a few hundred yards to go. Jon made one last dig to get around the 2 40-49 yr old riders and boxed me in. This was a perfect move, but I still had a chance. By this time I was spent and was looking for any opportunity to make a move. We were sitting 3rd and 4th for the race at this point. Then to our surprise, Brad was in front of us. We swept him up and passed. Now we were into the final chute fighting for 2nd and 3rd. I could not find that last attack in the legs and settled for 3rd place by 4 seconds. But man what an awesome last 30 mins of racing!

Congrats to Brad for another outstanding season with 3rd overall for the series and State Championship! I can't thank you enough for all the training tips and help with motivation you gave me throughout the season!

And congrats to the other series overall winners as well. There were a lot of personal best among this year classes!

 Finally, thanks to Tailwind for continuing to support my habit and provide great USAC racing in the state of Michigan. It is still a great series, and it will only get better. Good luck Wissmans!


Vince said...

Hell yes.

jbhancock said...

Nice ride, now get ready for 'cross!!

BrAdLaKo said...

Sweet dude.... now where's my check!

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