Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summerset Shootout

Last weekend found us traveling out to Des Moines for the 4th race in the IMBCS Series, headed out Saturday afternoon to get in a couple pre-ride laps with Rick, Ryan, Kyle and Bruce. We also took the kids and wifes bike and they also pre-rode the course as Sunday was Angela's birthday, and she was thinking about racing but wanted to see the course before making her decision.

Sunday morning we arrive to get registered and warmed up, the whole family was racing this weekend, Kaden doing the kids race, which he won (small course), then Angela and Salem were lined up for the beginner race, they made the decision that the women and juniors would do 2 laps of the 2.5 mile technical course. They got off to a rolling start down the road towards the singletrack, Salem went into the woods before Angela and he was keeping right up with most of the guys, remember he is only 12 years old, so he was doing awesome. Angela came through where I was standing at about 4 minutes after Salem and she was smiling, at least for the pictures. I handed off the camera to Kaden so I could get warmed up, decided I would go and find her on the course and cheer her on, Salem was walking back towards the Start/Finish area with a flat tire, bummer. I rolled up behind Angela to see how she was doing, and she was doing good except on a couple of the looser climbs, one of which I wish I had the camera for because she was upside down about 6 foot down off the trail and still clipped in, funny, helped her out of her bike and let he finish her race, I turned off to head back towards the staging area. I get back to find out that when Salem came back they told him since he was the only Junior if he could grab another bike he could go finish the race, Kaden's bike was locked on the car and I had no keys, so he jumped on Eric Penne's son's bike, he is I think 7 years old, so he takes off on a bike that is clearly way too small for him, and was able to finish the race. Overall Angela came through shortly before we started in 2nd Place in the women's race, her first mountain bike race, and Salem was 1st since he was the only Junior.

On to my race now, we would be doing 5 laps of the Northside of Summerset, which is some of the most technically challenging course we race on, not in terms of rocks/roots but in the form of trails with no real flow to them, some really steep drops, so climbs that you go into carrying some speed from the previous downhill, but go into them at a 90 degree turn, or more, and side hill stuff that you almost can't pedal all the way through without hitting your pedals on the ground. Lined up with some familiar faces, Neil and Tyler would be 2 that I knew I had to try and not let get away, and I was on the front line with them. We go, and it is probably just over 1/4 mile into the singletrack on the paved road, I am 3rd wheel behind Neil and Tyler, and holding that place going through the first section. I am doing a good job keeping them just in front of me, but can see them starting to pull away slightly, I do have someone on my wheel which was good, kept me motivated to go. I get gapped about 1/2 way through the first lap, and when we got to a spot I let the guy behind me go chase them down as by now I know I have lost contact with them and would not get it back. The end of the first lap I turned in just over 17 minutes, way faster then my pre-ride, and knew I wouldn't be able to keep that pace, so I scaled it back a little for the next few laps.

Lap 2 was basically maintaining my position and trying to figure out how to ride the course cleanly, did a really good job of that on this lap, at this point we were picking up the back end of the SS class which started 1 minute before us, much respect to those guys especially on this course, not SS friendly. The one thing about this course is there is only 2 places to grab a drink and they both come towards the end of lap, so water management was an issue, especially with it being 90+ degrees out and very humid. At the end of this lap on the road section I picked up one of the SS guys spinning away, he jumped on my wheel and drafted me to the entrance of the trail again which was helpful to him. I finally thought I had this course figured out, was on top of one of the ridges on the back section, and BAM, I was on the ground, apparently I clipped a tree with my bars and was laying across the trail. Now to pick myself back up and try and regain my mental focus and get back into it. I was doing a good job of keeping with lap times of around 18-19 minutes.

Going int lap 4 I saw Tom Anderson from Rassy's on the road, catch up to him and let him to jump on my wheel on the road section, and he was saying the Ryan from Rassy's who was just in front of me on lap 2 was still only about a minute up there and I could probably catch him. I did all I could, but by now I was starting to feel the pain in my legs, and also a little pain in my lower back, not sure what that was all about though, and ended up dropping it to the little ring and spinning up the steep climbs instead of trying to power them in the middle ring. This course was no longer fun at all and it turned into a death march to just get through it to the end. I never did see Ryan in the few spots I thought I would be able to, so my chase was over, and decided I was good as long as noone else caught me. By now we were starting to lap the back end of the Cat 2 field, it is amazing the range of riders this class covers, the top 3 or so should be in the Cat 1's and the back 5 or so are ones that just came up from the Cat 3's. Back through the road section for the final time heading into lap 5.

I did get a chance to see Rick ahead of me on one section, and decided he would be my carrot and I would try and chase him down, but had nothing left in the legs for any speed, and never able to get up to him, I knew he still had 2 more laps after this one so he was just trying to get through it. I think I was able to ride the whole 5th lap cleanly, dropping to where I could spin helped out a lot, and also knowing the race was almost over was a relief. Came across the line in 1:35:08 which I know was a good time for this course, just not 100% sure where that put me overall.

Waited around a little to watch others finish, and then went to change before coming back for results. That was a big cluster, and instead of posting results they just announced the top 3 in each class, and I knew I wasn't one of them so I had no clue how I did leaving there. Angela did get a gift card from one of the local bike shops and a prize off the table, she grabbed a wind breaker, and Salem got a new bike computer for his road bike. After they did awards they had a hill climb setup behind registration, cash entry $1 per try, and I usually am a good climber so I tried it out, ended up being tougher then I thought, never got the a clean run into it so didn't get too far. It was however won by Adam P who was on a SS, he had it dialed in and just powered up it.

Result finally came out and it turns out I ended up in 5th overall for the Cat 2's and 4th in the Cat 2 Open for the series category. Next race for the IMBCS is Ida Grove, but not sure if we are making it to that one as it is a 4 hour drive one way, very fun course though, so we shall see.

As always pictures are here

Friday, May 14, 2010

IMBCS #3 Waverly

This past Sunday was the 3rd race in the series, Camp Ingawanis Boy Scout camp near Waverly. I was originally not intending on doing this race as I was on-call for work this week and couldn't find anyone to cover it being it was Mother's Day. Thursday afternoon I was able to nail down a coworker to cover the time I needed to head up and race, so right in the middle of my rest week I was going to be racing my bike.

Got up there around 9:15 as they were having a youth race at 10:05 that we told the boys they could do, so we get them all registered and set up to race. They did a shortened version of the full course, but still had a good mix of hills, and singletrack for the kids, so I offered to ride behind them and make sure they all found their way around the course the first lap. Salem took off on the opening climb and was ahead quite a bit, and Kaden wasn't too far behind. After the first lap I went ahead to where Salem was at and followed him through the course. He ended up coming across the line in 1st, and a couple minutes later there was a heated battle between Kaden and one of the youth girls, and a sprint finish at the end put Kaden in 2nd, good racing for them.

I then took off up the hill and decided to check out the first 2 miles or so of trail so I knew what to expect at the start. The opening hill is always a killer, good way to separate the pack a little before hitting the woods, then it is some really flowing trail down to the river. Got to a point where I knew how to get back to the car and decided I had seen enough. Got back with plenty of time before my 11:05 start time.

Lined up after the Cat 1's took off, front row, left side, best line for getting up the hill, so go through the usual pre-checks, bike in big ring, check, fork locked out, check, ready to go, check. They give us the countdown from 10 and I know at this point it is on, GO, and I am off towards the hill, get clipped in right away and sprint up the hill, holeshot into the woods again, I don't quite have the same gap as I did at Sylvan Island, but a few seconds. I am not sure who is behind me at this point, but know there was a couple fast guys right there. The first section I am riding pretty strong, and knowing I am not holding anyone up, one almost missed turn, wanted to go left, but the trail went right, oops, thankfully I could regroup and not lose anything there. By this point I am feeling some pressure from behind and know there are a couple guys that want to get around, I knew it opened up shortly, so as soon as it did 2 guys get by me, and now I have Ryan Neipert from QC FORC on my wheel, neither of us had ridden this section beforehand, so I asked if he wanted to go around, and he declined as long as we were keeping the leaders in sight, so I did my best to do so. Now we hit the climbing sections of the race course, first one comes and it is a grinder with the trails being a little more then tacky from the rain a couple days before, so standing wasn't an option. Next up is the rock garden, and the guy infront of us bobbles the entrance, causing me to have to unclip, not wanting to lose any more spots I keep going without being in my pedals for the first section, finally get in just before the huge rock drop off, clean that section and we are off again. Descending again which mean we will be going back up, so I let Ryan and another guy go so I didn't hold them up any longer. The best climb come at about a mile from the finish, you come down to a low spot, and then it is a climb up in basically a gully that is about 3 feet deep, exposed roots, and switchbacking up. Come down that and it is across the bridge, short road section, then down to the start finish line.

Lap 2 starts with me letting a group of 4 guys go, including a couple of the SS guys, up the hill I try and just maintain their pace as long as I can, which isn't long, at this point I can feel that I haven't ridden all week, and fatigue has set in, so I just tried to make the best of it. Was riding along with on of the SS guys for a good amount of the lower section, but as soon as we hit the hills, he to me he was cramping, so he let me go ahead of him and we would go back and forth we me having the advantage on the hills with my gears, and him catching back up to me on the flatter sections. This time we had gotten to the rock garden and nobody was infront of us, so I was able to be in the right gear and just flow through it, feeling pretty good now knowing we had just 2 more climbs to go. We caught up to Brittany McConnell on the first climb, so that was a good time for me to be able to rest a little and not try and pass her on the climb, so once it opened up again at the top we went around and now there was 3 of us together. Back to the final big climb up through the gully and the SS guy opted to run the section due to the steepness of it, and I was just powering through it, back down to the road and got passed by the other guy that was with us, tried to match his speed, but had no power left in the legs at this point. Final section of singletrack, lost the guy in front of us, and has the SS guy right on my wheel, was able to hold him off as it was a downhill run into the finish line, and had the gear advantage.

Came across the line in just over an hour and four minutes, knowing I was out of the top spot it would just be a waiting game to see where I ended up when the got results sorted out. Got some food and waited, they started getting this posted, and I was 10th overall in the Cat 2 combined, and 7th place Cat 2 Open. I knew going into it I wouldn't have the results I did at the other 2 races, but still pleased with where I finished. Next race up is Summerset Shootout in Des Moines on the 23rd, so back to some serious training for me this weekend.

As always pictures can be found here