Monday, July 26, 2010

IMBCS #7 Seven Oaks Rec. Boone

After 2 months away from racing the mountain bike, yesterday found us traveling out to Boone for another adventure around that race course. I have had little luck mechanically at this place with my double flat 2 years ago and tacoing my wheel last year, things weren't looking good going into this one, but I am always up for the challenge of conquering my past demons. With all the rain we have had the past few weeks the back section of the course is missing bridges, and sections are washed out pretty badly, so the day before the decision was made to run the upper section of the race course, less climbing, but still enough technical sections to make it a hard race. Got there plenty early so I could head out and get a pre-ride in which was really helpful to see where the slick spots were and where to push it if I could.

Standard Boone start, far end of the field which would give us about 1/4 to 1/2 a mile of grass to ride through before hitting the climb for the first lap, got a good jump and was sitting in 3rd going into the singletrack, first time up the climb there were a few bobbles on some of the switchbacks behind us which would allow small gaps to form. Hit the top and was now time to open it up. There is nowhere near the amount of climbing as usual here, so that would prove to be a set back for me as I like climbing, but the 3 of us pushed on and at one point started to open up a gap. 1st place got a head a little bit and I was able to get around 2nd place towards the top and try not to let the gap get too big, but that didn't happen as he was already gone. Came through the first lap in 2nd place, but was getting caught in the field section at the bottom.

Started the 2nd lap in 3rd place with Ryan sitting about 20 yards off my wheel, he would stay there on some sections, others be right behind me, then I would open it up again. That first climb would prove to be my breaking point as I was having an issue recovering after it on the top section, usually we would get to the top and then have a descent to get a little rest, not today though. I was having a good day on the short punchy climbs though and that was helping to keep the gap. By the end of the 2nd lap Ryan would catch me at the bottom of the hill and we would enter the 3rd lap together. Climbing back through the switchback I asked how he was feeling, said pretty good, so I knew I would be conceding my spot to him on this lap, once again by the top of the hill I was pretty much unable to recover so I let him go by, trying my best to keep him in sight and try not to let the gap go too far out. 3rd lap was the only one I was able to ride cleanly, so I knew I had slowed down a little, because the first 2 laps I made some stupid mistakes from pushing the pace a little too high. Got down to the bottom to start the final lap and now was all alone with Ryan about a minute ahead and John Peters just over a minute behind.

Started the 4th lap and decided that opening climb kicked my butt the other 3 times, and would drop down into my little ring and just spin my way up. Felt better at the top this time from not pushing too big of a gear, and probably should have done that sooner. About 1/2 way through this lap I was starting to get caught by the front 2 Cat 1 racers, Kevin McConnell and Cam Kirkpatrick would be just a little behind him, pulled off and stopped to let Kevin go and a few minute later did the same for Cam. Descending for the final time the trail switchbacks going down giving you the chance to see people in front and behind you, so never saw Ryan again but could see John on a section behind me. Out to the field for one final time, ended up catching Mike Johnson whom was at the tail end of the Cat 1's just before the line.

Came across in 4th Place overall for the Cat 2's and that would also be 4th Place in the Cat 2 Open for the series. Boone however did get the last word because after changing and getting ready to load my bike I noticed my front tire was flat, must have picked up a thorn somewhere, but held air till I got down to the finish so that was a good thing.