Sunday, May 17, 2009

Root 66 Race Series: Winsted Woods

Race Report: Winsted Wood, Root 66 Mtb, Race 3,  5/17/09

I’ll start w/ the important information: I freaking won!!! (Cat 2, 40 to even older age group) And beat the guy who took me by 5 seconds last race by 4 minutes…Jeff placed second in his age group, though really the guy who won should have been racing the next class up. Curtis thought he came in third in Cat 1 (and would have been second if it had not been for an uncooperative root!)The rest really doesn’t matter that much…But here are the details anyways:This course is known for the amount of climbing involved. Mike calls it the mini mt snow race, while Jeff did the math and calculated that it was 2/3 climbing, with 1/3 down. The start of the course shot out of a parking lot into a small field and climbed up this fire road which was muddy, slippery, rocky, and rooty. An awful way to start, as w/in a 100 yards of the race, you are already redlining and gasping for air. The course then twisted up the side of hill on some more slippery single track w/ lots of criss-crossing roots and rocks. Back down on a super fast loose rock fire road, and back up the hill on a fire road w/ good traction. Just as it flattened and you thought you were done, it pointed back up steeply for some extra pain. Flat again, w/ some slippery single track sections and then up again on a fire road in the woods and then continued up through a field (with quite a nice view at the top). Then w/in down some slippery twisty single track which w/in 3 mins spit you back out at the start area. After all that climbing it seemed unbelievable that you could be all the way back down in such a short time and distance. 3 laps for Jeff and I, and I think Curtis had the pleasure of doing 4. (Btw, Curtis, did you race w/ your gps? Do you know what the climbing total was per lap?)Jeff and I got there again w/ some time to spare to make sure we got in a proper warm up. We did a partial ride of the course and got that proper warm up in. Then we just stood around in the cold and waited as the race was delayed by ½ hr. Just long enough to cool all the way back down again. I had to line up at the back of the group and when we went off tried to fight my way to the front as I wanted to make sure that unlike last race, there were not going to be a couple of guys taking off w/ out me realizing they were doing so. As we hit the fire road climb, I was in tenth and we were grouping together. The moment the mud started, people in front started to dab and hesitate and I quickly found myself (after Jeff and I had found during the warm up, a good line through a rocky mud pit) in 4th place. I was starting to hit my max w/ this short climb and decided to just settle there and recover. As the course turned to single track, the guys in front kept on loosing traction over the roots and rocks while I was not (thank you schwable rocket rons and stan!!!). This was allowing me to ride steady and soon found myself recovered and pushing into second place. After rubbing tires w/ the guy in front a couple of times (the guy who beat last race), I decided it would behoove me to be in front so I could read the terrain better and pick my lines more carefully. Just as I was thinking this, I dabbed, and found myself back in fourth. I quickly passed the group and when I glanced back, realized they were falling back quickly. I decided there I would try to really brake away and disappear from sight. By the end of the long fire road climb I was by myself. At the end of the second lap, as I had tried to keep my pace high, I thought I was going to bust. So I started my third lap telling myself to ride smart, not make any stupid mistakes, and of all things not to flat. During the race I was experiencing a flash back as at the last race, I thought I was in first place for a while to only find out a couple of guys had gotten away. Since this was the same scenario again, I talked myself out of thinking I was first, though I had been much more careful to monitor the front this time. When I crossed the finish line, there seemed to be no one from my age group there. Second place came in four minutes after…

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