Sunday, August 23, 2009

Root 66 Race Series: Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH

Race Report for Root 66 MTB Series: Bikes for Bovines, NH, 8/23/2009

Climb mother phucker, climb!

Course: start in a nice quaint farm; quick fire road onto short section of pavement and back another fire road that went up, and up, and up…five miles of straight unrelenting climbing. The climb started on a nice groomed fire road but then turned into a loose wet slippery rocky dirt track. 2000 feet elevation gain on that first climb. At the top of the climb, the course shot into tight twisty, off camber, rocky and rooty single track which was very wet from the massive rains NH had gotten over the past two days. Looking at your brakes the wrong way at the wrong time and down you went! Several miles in, another climb, this one shorter but w/ many sections too steep and muddy to actually ride. The last three miles were fire roads back down: flying in the big ring and aero position to gain as much speed as possible. Lap length: 13 miles. Thank dog, we only did one!

They called us up by age group and lined us up accordingly, but then announced a mass start! There were three age groups lined up in front of us and somehow we all to have to fit through the narrow start gate. The whistle blew and of course it was one giant ass cluster phuck. Riders were banging into each other. One of them banged into me, making me bang into someone else who … To add some insult, right after the gate was a giant mud puddle through which I went flying (no choice as I was stuck in a pack). I lost traction, slipping sideways, about to go down, but then slamming into the racer next to me, who went down, but helped me stay up right. Thanks! The climb was wide enough that everyone could pass. Some were racing up, while others were settling in. I tried to find a guy that seemed to have the same pace as me and grabbed his wheel. People were passing but then burning up and dropping back. Within the first ½ mile there were only 10 riders left in front, and that number quickly dropped to 6. The rest of the pack was falling back and a good gap was starting to form already. A racer behind me picked up some speed and passed me, so I grabbed his wheel. Slowly we started to pick off the rest of the riders ahead. One by one. I had no idea how long the climb was and noticed I forgot to reset my computer. DOH! So my strategy was to stick to the guy in front and try not to burn up all my matches. Several miles in, still climbing, without any type of brake what so ever, we had passed everyone. My legs were screaming and I was struggling to catch my breath, but just kept on holding on. The guy’s pace was starting to come down and I could tell he was getting tired. I eventually passed him and he grabbed my wheel. We finally (!!!) crested the top and started the tricky single track. He fell behind quickly and had soon lost him. I finished the rest of the course by myself, and beat him by two minutes.

I ended up winning not only my age group but the whole field. This was pretty sweet for me since I was on the next day, adding one more year to the pile of years I had already collected, so it was nice to beat all those younger guys!

If you like climbing, add this race to your calendar next year. This was a massive climb.

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