Sunday, June 18, 2006

Best of the Rest and A Not So Pleasant Surprise!

The Afton Avalanche kicked off today at 1pm for the elite class. There were good crowds for cheering, a strong field to contend with, and a beautiful hot day to top things off. The course was basically the same as last year except "Larry's Revenge" (a newer section of trail) was substituted for the "Shady Lane" climb up the south slope. Given the hot temps, that was a-OK with me, except the race organizers decide that we should do 5 laps because the exclusion of Shady Lane. I am not one who complains about courses much, so I just did what I could. It was a pretty long race though with the additional lap and about 800 feet of climbing per lap.

The race started off with a typical Hollywood lead out and eventually with Chris Fisher and I off the front. After the first big climb, Chris was hurting so I jumped in front and took a flier. My legs were ok, but not great and I figured that building a lead early might help my chances. At the start of the second lap, I had about 30-45 seconds on Jeff Hall and Sam O.

At that point, I was looking for fresh water bottle but never found one=( Jen was helping a woman that had a really nasty crash and was unable to get me some libation. I did the first 2 laps on one bottle which is a HORRIBLE way to start off a hot race. Jeff passed me at the end of the second lap and dropped me like a bad habit. He said afterwards that after he warmed up he was feeling pretty good dispite having raced a national race in W. Virginia the day before. What can I say? The guy is at a different level! Here is a pic of the pass/drop....

I put it in cruise control, and began to cramp. Finally, the water bottles started coming, and as I would put them down the cramps would subside only to return after a few minutes. I was left doing damage control up the hot slopes for almost 3 laps. My legs started feeling more and more dead as the 4th and 5th laps went by. Luckily, I was descending pretty fast, and was able to hold of Brian Narum, a past Trek pro, for second. I crossed the finish line with a finish time around 2:15, 6 minutes behind Jeff. I don't feel too bad about that given that he is ranked top 10 in the national series. What at hot long ride! Results here:

The Nasty Surprise: What is wrong with this picture???

When I got home, I discovered a nasty but pertinent surprise regarding my lackluster 4th and 5th laps....I had been riding with a broken spoke and my rear wheel had been rubbing for both laps! Crap! I heard it break right before the start of the fourth lap...actually I heard that loud "ting" sound and figured that is what it was. I didn't stop to check it because that wouldn't have done any good. I not only need to replace the spoke but I burned off most of the break pad. The only good to come of this was that I can explain laps 4 and 5.

After the race we had a great picnic over at Afton State Park with my family and Jen's family. I wasn't able to eat much, but I did take a nice dip in the St. Croix=)
Happy Father's Day Dad! and Bob!

This week's plan includes Buck Hill on Thursday and Mont Du Lac on Sunday.


1 comment:

Pete Ryan said...

Great race report!