Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Down and Dirty

This past Sunday was the Missouri state MTB race. I put a big fat bulls eye on this race as soon as it was posted, which meant I had 6 months-ish to prepare for this and be on top form as I rolled to the line. Well...if you been reading this you know that my off season pretty much SUCKED and I didn't start riding til mid February and didn't start "training" til April...I'm beginning to think it sucks getting old...

Moving on...So the day comes and it's time to line up. As per usual, the experts are lumped together, but they did call us to the line by age group, so I knew there were 8 riders in my class and a good sized field of experts total...probably around 20.

GO!!! After we squeezed through an arch over the start/finish line the drag race began. About a half mile of gravel double track to a hard left over a short bridge and then into the single track. Needless to say, it was a cluster f**k at this point...we get rolling and it's so dusty dry it's getting difficult to see the terrain...this was a new situation to me. I've raced in the woods a ton, but never when it was this dry. The first lap rolls bye fairly uneventfully and into my little feed zone I go. I stashed a bottle of ice water in it this time to pour on my head to cool down a bit, which is exactly what I did. That water was COLD, it felt good and did exactly what I wanted it to.

Rolling into lap 2 I'm feeling pretty good and settle into a rhythm...this last for about 3 miles, then all of the sudden I'm suffering big time and going really SLOOOOOOW!!! My race starts to unravel I suffer along getting passed by a few riders thinking to myself, this sucks ass, when I get back to the pit, I'm done!! A few minutes later the little voice in my head says, if you quit you will be more miserable than if you keep riding. Hmmm....stupid voice!! I hate it when you're right!! With about 2 miles to go I formulate a new plan. I'm gonna ditch my camel-bak, grab my bottle of ice water and ride one more lap.

The last 2 miles roll by, it felt like an eternity, but I made it to the pit again. I throw down my camel-bak, grab the ice water, and roll out. whilst I was doing this, another racer passes me and rides away from me. Right before the finish line the course was marked in the style of a CX course, and it doubled back on itself. Just after I entered this section, I start yelling at the guy that just passed me. I was yelling, I'm gonna get you, you better pedal, I'm gonna get you!!!

So he puts in a charge and sort of rides away from me on the double track. On the single track he more or less rides away...I'm thinkin, maybe I won't get him...then I realize I'm feeling better and start riding a bit faster. Off in the distance I see this guy and he has passed another racer, he was a 50+ rider. So I make the 50+ rider my carrot and proceed to reel him fairly easily. I get to him and he lets me by no worries. At this point I can see the guy that passed me in the pit and I'm gaining on him.

I get to his wheel and he says, do you want by? To this I replied, no, I'm good, we have about 6 miles to go. We roll on for about another quarter of a mile and a stick flips up into his front derailleur and forces him to stop. I think to myself, it's now or never, either I'm going to get to the line before him or die trying!! So I go as hard as I can for the rest of the lap, and rode away from him.

I was getting close to the end of the lap when I saw 3rd place a few switchbacks ahead of me, so it was time to dig again, and I do. Before I know it I pop out of the woods and I knew it was over...3rd was 2 minutes 40 ahead of me going into lap 3, when it was all said and done he was a mere 16 seconds ahead of me.

So I finished 4th, narrowly missing the podium...again!! It was weird, I was suffering horribly on lap 2, and on lap 3 I was focused and riding like a man on a mission...I was 2 minutes 10 faster on lap 3 compared to lap 2. Not a lot but the way i was feeling on lap 2 I would've never guessed that was gonna happen...oh well that's racing, you can't be great every time.


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