Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Windham World Cup, 2011

What a weekend!  Weekends like these are not just great biking weekends, but great "life" weekend as well.  A weekend where I will not only remember the riding but the whole thing from start to finish.  Of course it helped that it was, from start to finish, directly related to cycling!  One track mind...

I had the pleasure to share a rented condo for the weekend w/ Mike and Stacey.  It was right off the Windham mountain. Though the condo was comfortable and well located, I could fill up several pages discussing the frightening decor of the place.  All I'll say it that is even in the 80ies it would have been considered awful by someone from New Jersey (I have actually no idea if people from Jersey have bad taste)!  

We took off from home on Friday morning, and were on the Windham course to pre ride at 4 PM.  The course was the same as last year with over 700 feet of climbing over a little more than 3.5 miles. Not exactly very a very long course. It wound it's way up through the open fields of the ski slopes, with the climbing broken up by sections that would cross the slope horizontally and enter singletrack sections in the woods. The down section of the course followed pretty much the same pattern. In the open sections, the course was dry, but in the woods things were quite slick.  There were a couple of deep mud holes, but mostly it was just a thin layer of wetness that made things slimy and very slick.  The course was very fast in certain sections and this slime was going to make things quite challenging during the race.  We used the pre ride to really look at the lines and practice them. Most of it was quite ride-able even wet as long the lines were right.  There was one steep downhill section that presented as a challenge though. It was quite steep and at the bottom of it had even steeper section with one side being wet rock and the other wet off camber roots.  What made it challenging was that this led into a very tight left turn.  Therefor, somehow you needed to scrub your speed to be able to make the turn or risk going over the edge.  The first time down it, I made the mistake to touch the front brake which skid my bike side ways, throwing me over it.  I was thankfully, but somewhat painfully, stopped by a tree from tumbling down quite a distance. The second and third time down  were more successful but were still feeling somewhat out of control as the bike would skid and slip. 
That night a big storm came through w/ thunder, lightning, and lots of rain!  In the morning the storm had passed, and the weather was clear, windy and dry.  We went to see the pro's race and made it in time for the women's race (Bresset won, and it was great watching her fight off Pendrel).  I was expecting a super wet and muddy course but the wind must have dried everything.  Even the sections that were slick on Friday were now dry.  There were just a couple of big mud puddles left in the cross sections of the course.   We watched the pros on that steep downhill section and which lines they picked.  There really seemed two good lines going down and using the side of the off camber roots to drop into the tight turn at speed. 

We sneaked in one more lap right after the pros were done.  The course was very fast.  Everything was rideable and I got to try both lines down the steep section. Both worked fine. 

Race was Sunday morning at 8 AM and again the sun was out and thought it was warm, the air was nice and dry. 

Two months have gone by since I started this way too detailed report.  I can't seem to finish this now and am so backed up w/ other race reports that I'll just cut to the chase:   Race was great fun, but a little short.  Probably one of the shortest cat 1 races of the year.  Not what you would expect for a World Cup Race.  They do really need to add another lap!  Finished 10th in my category which was a slight improvement over last year.   the end....

On a side note, saw some picture of what Irene did to the area and my heart goes out to everyone there!

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