Monday, April 19, 2010

Bone Bender 3/6 hr MTB race - Smithville Lake, Mo

Hadn't done a marathon-length mtb race in 2 years so I had no idea what to expect. Absolutely perfect weather this year. I missed this race (mudfest) last year, but this time around, we couldn't have asked for better conditions. A bit chilly at the start but that was more than welcome. At least severe dehydration crossed off the list of things to end your day. The LeMans start was crazy. The "front row" was about 50 guys wide, and since I really struggle running, I was mired back in the 20's somewhere coming up from the beach to the bike staging area. I lucked out with the bike placement and got by about 1/2 the guys still running to there bikes. A couple hard efforts on the pavement before the singletrack, and I got into good position. Tige Lamb got the holeshot and was going away with Jeff Winkler, Kent McNeil and myselft in two. the first lap pace was crazy fast. Things eventually sorted out with Kent taking the lead with me following, then Tige, Jeff, and Cameron Chambers. Cameron got by me around the mid-way point and Jeff not long after that. The pace of the first lap was a little harder than I was prepared for, and with the real possibility of doing 4 laps, I needed to chill. 2nd lap felt a bit flat after such a hard first lap effort. Had a couple Gu packs and that seemed to help. Omaha's Stephen Jarrett (Kent's teammate) came by shortly after starting lap 2. Felt better on lap 3 once the Gu packs had kicked in. It was close on time so I wasn't sure if it was going to be 3 or 4 laps so I made sure I drank plenty and used every Gu pack I had with me. Sure enough, came in about 5 minutes under 3hrs. The 4th lap was all about spinning the right gear, standing and stretching, and trying to avoid a complete implosion. Fortunately the course doesn't have too many steep climbs that could really sting you you were on starting to cramp up. I could occasionally see the 4th place guy maybe a minute back so I couldn't exactly put it in cruise mode just yet. Came in around 3hrs 45mins and completely empty. Very cool race, Locke and crew put on an awesome event. Might be my last MTB race in KS or Mo and happy to have made it this one.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekly Update, MTB racing finally.

Crazy week. Awesome weather last weekend, rain waited till Monday for a change. Riding over to the Tuesday Nite Crit, the rolling clouds were quite ominous looking. Zero wind (at the start anyway) so that was a welcome relief after the previous week. This was the first Tuesday Night with the new Cat 1-3 only in the "A" race format. Plenty of opinions flying around about that. My opinion means nothing anyway but the end result was not even debatable: Must faster since the field was smaller and there wasn't all of that unessessary pack movement going on. It lined-out from the gun and the first 20 minutes were the fastest of the year, maybe fastest avg speed i've seen in out there in a while. ZERO wind and NO rain up to this point. That all changed very quickly. The wind really picked up and the echelons started. I was in the wrong place a couple times and eventually lost contact. The rain drops started and I was near the back when a lot of guys started sitting up. Starting heading home west on Prairie Star when the real rain hit. Just about had to swim the last 2 miles home. Wednesday's Hill Ride was a small group since the weather didn't look promising, but the rain split completely around us. Wind was another story. Just riding over was a challenge. The headwind blowing up Renner was insane. I ride down that on the way over and I had to work just to keep moving down it. First climb was OK, Tom Bondurant took off and easily went over the top well in front. I came over with a couple other SKC guys. It all came back together at the lights on Midland. As we turned right on Renner, that crazy headwind I had coming down it was know a very stiff tailwind blowing up it. What a great opportunity to RIP up this thing. I took off at the bottom where it's still flat, and was pretty surprised how fast I got going with the wind at my back. I must have hit 30 before the road tipped up. I think I caught everybody off guard a bit. I was still going pretty quick as Renner crossed over 435, but the legs were on fire for sure.
Trails were still closed all last week so I could only use the gravel path around Lake Lenexa to test the new tire setup, WTB Vulpines. 475 grams is significantly lower than the 700+ Specialized full-knobbys I had on before. Since the trails are closed when they're wet, why have knobs anyway? The Vulpines are not tubeless-ready and it was a challenge to get them inflated. Plenty of Stans required to seal up the beads and the entire sidewalls. They still lose pressure significantly overnite but I can deal with that. The course out at Sundays Lawrence River Trails Race is pancake flat, 100% single track, super twisty and fast. My 40-49 cat 1 field was small but the 30-39 group was a good size. I got the holeshole in my group, then started picked off the guys in the 30-39 group that went before us. Made it up to 4th I thing. We cranked out some quick sub-16min laps initially. I managed 4 good laps but the 5th lap was sorta survival mode. Everything hurt at this point. Tom Price, leading the 50+ cat 1 group, went by started lap 5 and left me. Fitness was good and the tires worked perfectly on that course. Hadn't did a mtb race since last summer (or ridden off-road much this year for that matter) and it felt like it. I was back out there yesterday helping out Chris Locke at his Off-Road Duathon. Perfect weather for the weekend. Let's see if the weather holds out for BoneBender next week.