Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Roadie makes good on dirt

It took all summer, but I finally got around to doing a mountain bike race. On Saturday I went up to Winter Park for the finale of their summer mountain bike series. The course was the 25 mile Tipperary Creek point to point.

I hemmed and hawed about what category to enter, and eventually I settled on racing as a beginner. I don't mountain bike much (maybe 6 times this year) and I've only done a couple mountain bike races before. I was worried about getting in people's way if I raced in the sport class.

The race starts out on a wide dirt road for a few miles before getting to a long single track climb. Shortly after the start I was sitting third wheel enjoying the draft. The front guy peeled off and the second guy almost immediately sprinted up the road. I let him go a little bit, but then decided to reel him in and caught him right before the single track. He looked back, saw that I had dropped the rest of the field, and said "Let's work together." Ha! In a mountain bike race? I dropped him on the climb.

My game plan throughout the race was to gain as much time as possible on the climbs because I'm a pretty timid descender. I was hoping that I would blow up the other riders on the climbs and that they would have to take risks on the descent to catch me. The first ascent went according to plan. I was constantly passing people from the other race groups, but more importantly I was putting time between me and my competition.

I was taking it easy after the first major descent and I kind of forgot that I was trying to race. I eased up for a bit and I tried to eat a gel (making a mess of myself in the process). Around that time, someone from my group passed me. That woke me up a bit and I was able to stick with him and drop him again on the next climb. I never saw him again.

There was really only one somewhat technical section. I clipped my bar on a tree and took a spill at the beginning of it and ended up walking most of the rest of it. That was a bummer because the section wasn't that technical, and I know I could have ridden it if I hadn't lost my momentum.

There were times that I felt like easing up a bit, but then I would think about someone nipping me at the line and I just couldn't have that. A couple people passed me in the last couple miles, but I wasn't sure what group they were with (I just knew I couldn't match their speed). I pushed as hard as I could and I was super tired at the finish where my great wife met me with some dry clothes and a recovery drink. After I hung out and recovered, I checked the results and saw that I had won! It's fun to win a race, but next time I'll race sport for sure.

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