Sunday, July 19, 2009

Emporia MTB Race

Decided at the last minute to actually do a MTB race this year. After commuting to work 4 out of 5 days last week, and doing a respectable ride out at Landahl Saturday morning, what the hell, why not. The race in Emporia KS had been on the schedule for a while but I figured it would be too hot out for me. The temps have been amazing cool which was the deciding factor. 5-10 degrees hotter and no way. Felt good out at Landahl on Saturday and i've been a little curious to see what my fitness was really like after not racing all Spring and Summer like I usually do. Had a full group of guys lined up to car-pool but it ended up being just me and Tige Lamb. Nice to ride some new trails for once. The crew down there put some amazing trails together. Super twisty with a few steep little climbs covered in loose rocks. Fortunately, for the most part, the course was smooth and fast, so the Niner hardtail was OK. 35+ Expert men started a minute behind the younger experts. That was a solid group with Cameron Chambers and Shad Shreiner. I got the hole shot in our race with Tige right behind me. We kept the pace pretty quick through the first section of tight single track and already had a gap starting when we hit the long gravel road section on lap 1. I hit the road and really dropped the hammer. The single-ring 36 34/11 got spun-out pretty good here but not too bad. After the long gravel section, it was back into the twisty single track for a short section before the finish. Me and Tige just shared the work for most of the race and caught all of the younger guys except that class winner Shad Shreiner. Coming off the gravel road on the last lap, I just happen to be in front and got into the single track first with Tige right behind me. I really didn't feel like a sprint on the steep climb to the finish so I just pushed the pace a bit through a series of tight sections and made sure a had a few bikes lengths cushion to work with. Hitting the pond with the bridge, Tige slid out a bit in a turn just as I got on the gas a bit so the gap was already set. We cruised in a few seconds apart for 1 and 2 in the 35+ and the 2nd and 3rd fastest times of the day. Lelan and his group put on a great race. Look forward to heading down there next year, provided it isn't too hot!