Sunday, July 12, 2009

Winter Park Race Report

hey kids:

the winter park super D race just wrapped up and marty and i had a pretty good showing.  the day started out early with a pre-run of the course, which was relatively damp from the overnight rains.  Course times looked to be about 20 minutes, and in typical Winter Park fashion, the super D started with a road climb and a Le Mans start.

i took the lift up to the start, and did some final tyre pressure adjustments.  We laid our bikes down and headed to the start line about 25 yards away.  The gun went off and about 20 dudes in bike shoes tap-danced their way to their bikes.  i ran a bit further than most and avoided most of the melee of non-cyclocrossers trying to mount up.  

before we get into the blow-by-blow, let me take a minute to wax poetic about the best thing i have put on my bike all season... the Continental Rubber Queen UST tire.  i am running a 2.2 width, and it is actually a full 2.2 size, unlike some of Continental's other offerings.  The tire has a nice round profile, so it rolls pretty fast, but when the trail gets chumbly the tire turns into your best friend.  Full size shoulder knobs do not flex at all at 36 psi when raging down the mountain, and the tire is predictable when braking and drifting.  Best of all, after a weekend of downhill runs, the tire shows no signs of wear.  I can't say that about some of my other favorite tires, which seem to evaporate when the going gets rough.  

The real star of the show, and my new-found love, the Rubber Queen

the road climb only lasted about a minute, but i was fully in the red zone, breathing hard and just trying to hang on until the singletrack.  i dumped into the trail about 10th and got down to the business of getting down the hill.  immediately i passed by a couple people and started to get my breath back.  

we dropped onto a road for a quick downhill section before diving back into singletrack, and i took another spot, drifted into a lefthander, and sized up two more riders.  the trail narrowed, and i was forced to sit on a wheel.  We opened back up into a trail that traversed a ski run, and i used the berms to tighten up to the two riders in front of me and set up the pass just as we ducked back into the woods.  

all good things must come to an end, though, and the trail turned uphill for about a minute long climb  at the halfway point.  the XC punx rode back past me and i gave it my all to not lose more than a couple places.  I did manage to squeeze in ahead of two riders, and we were losing altitude once again.

with open trail ahead of me, i charged ahead... the maverick was ready for more and the trail was perfectly tacky.  i headed through a trail junction and was on another rider.  We dropped into another berm section, and i jumped a water bar and took to the grass to make another pass before the trail closed in.  

from there it was a perfectly flowing woods section, and my legs started to feel good.  I ramped the berms and came up on two more riders.  calling my move, i had to make it happen.  i know that i boxed one guy off his line, but there was no slowing down in my game-plan.  

we dumped onto a fire road for a quick descent followed by a steep but short uphill.  I charged it and to my suprise, didn't feel like total crap.  i kept the hammer down and jockeyed with another rider.  he led me into the next downhill section, which dumped onto a flat road.  

i had some encouragement from a course marshal, thanks Dessa!, and i charged ahead to the lower, final section of trail.  I passed one rider,  and dropped into the trail at full speed.  this final section was typified by a series of very steep water-bars that have a tendency to buck an XC bike head over heels.  i kept my weight back and bounced off the water bars.  

i was charging up on another rider, and as he brake-checked to drop into a bigger trough, i saw my jump line open up to the left, and i cleared the gap and kept the hammer down.  a couple quick berms later and i was in the finish chute with a 20 minute time.  Not too bad...

it wasn't until results were posted that i saw that i was second.  Sweet!  i guess i had it together decently well after all, and in hindsight i guess i should have pushed harder on the start... oh well, the result was good enough for me, and taking second really offset the second-to-last place in the XC race last week.

i cleaned up and got a few pics of Marty, Susan, and the Willie brothers, Alex and Chase.  These kids can rock it with the best of them.  Alex turned in a 22 minute run, good enough for the top step on the podium.  Susan was thankful for dual suspension and disc brakes... she is turning to the dark side, and had a fast clean run.  Marty opened both barrels and was less than a minute off the podium in 5th place.  Nice work, everyone!

till next time, over&out from the high country.

Alex Willie bringing it home on lower Boulevard trail.

Chase Willie making it happen on the 24" wheels.

Marty railing the berms.

Alex on the top step.

Susan lookin' sharp

Yours truly, and some other chump.


k8rau said...

Hi Rob and Marty-

Thanks for cheering on the SMBA posse and the Willie brothers at Winter Park. Your support totally pumped them up for the upcoming week at Nationals in Sol Vista. Trust your road trip was full of adventure, sweet singletrack, and few crowds:)!

Kate Rau
SMBA Coach

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