Monday, May 18, 2015

Arcadia Grit and Gravel

I may have found the perfect race...

One that is in an incredible area, incorporates gravel roads with tough climbs, probably some of the best single track in the state if not the world, a mass start, and a great after party right on the finish line!

Arcadia Grit and Gravel... I finally pulled the trigger on this one and I am glad I did. The race seems to capture everything, and the layout of the course lends to some true tactic style racing.

Brad Lako and I arrived on Friday afternoon to checkout the course and get in some openers. It was very obvious that they Taylor Rd. dirt road climb was going to be my make or brake point for me in the race. It's key to be in the front 5 or so going into the single track if you want to have a chance for a win, or top overall spot. so I knew what I needed to do, but now the next thing was to figure out if I was too rested leading into the race. Only the race would tell me this..

On race day we arrived early. warmed up, and got in line for the mass start. Brad and I got pinched off from the front line. and ended up around 15 or 20 spots back. not a big deal as it was a neutral roll out. We took off and the brake taps and wheel buzzing began. We finally hit the first dirt section, and everyone exploded. I stayed near the front and the pace was hard. Legs were already burning as we hit the first real climb. The group was already breaking apart. The next climb had some really deep sand at the bottom, and this resulted in a big pile up. I just missed being taken out and made it to the back of the lead group. I stayed hear for the first half of the race. We now had a select group of about 15-20. The pace stayed high as we hit the Taylor Road climb. Half way up the climb Keegan Meyer made the first attack. It was not a big one, but it was enough to string out the pack. Brad grab his wheel and I started to slowly slip back to the last spot in the pack. By the time we made it to the top, Brad was leading going into the single track, and I was just hanging on. My HR was sky rocketing and would not come down. Once in the single track, I was too far back as slower riders were causing bottle necks. My chances to hang with the lead group were gone. But there was still a chance for a high overall finish.

I continued to push and ride my own race. The single track was fun as hell! But I was still suffering at the same time. After the single track, I was able to pick up a few spots on the 2 track and final dirt road sections. This was good. But I felt like I still did not have the best race I could have. I was just too flat and way too fresh.

After Brad told me that his group finished 5 mins ahead of me based on our Garmin times, I didn't even bother to check results for the podium. I figured I would just check when we were about to leave. As I waited to take Brad's pic of his first place, to my surprise, they called my name for 3rd place! Brad and I both started laughing... But I was happy to sneak out the last step of the podium out of 33 guys in the age group, regardless of how I felt during and after the race.

Congrats to Brad on his 2nd overall and 1st in age group, and congrats to the other Brad, Kevin, and Nick for solid results and representing KLM on the other side of the state.

I cant wait to do this race again next year. And I now know what to expect, and what I need to work on.

1 comment:

Vince Anila said...

Nice! I did the inaugural one -- nowhere near the front -- and loved it.