Monday, July 28, 2008

Still In Vermont?

Spirit Mt (MNSCS #6) was a great way to reintegrate into Midwest felt like we never left Vermont. Well, it is a little different. The course is much tighter and twistier but has just as many or more rocks, and the main 700 foot climb is about 2/3 rocky rooty singletrack....down right dreamy. The entire race was only 2 laps, but there was 1300 feet of tough climbing per lap.

They started us right on the hill, which made for a cluster at the start, but I got out front chasing down my teammate, CHARLY TRI, who got the holeshot (he REALLY wanted me to mention him in my blog, so tell him how cool he is next time you see him). I slipped on the first sharp turn on the lead out hill, but quickly remounted...sorry to those who I hindered.
I caught back on by the top and Jay, my bro and I followed Scotty Kylander Johnson all the way through the first lap. He built much of the trail and there is probably no one faster than him descending it. At the start of the 2nd lap, Ben and I had a little gap, but Scott and Samo (who caught Scott on the climb) closed it down to about 20 seconds on the descent.
Ben got hung up on some rocks when we started the climb causing me to dismount. My calves locked up, and it took 5-10 seconds to get going again. We continued to march on and Samo passed me in the last 1/8th or so of the climb. I just didn't have the climbing legs to hang. I yelled up to Ben that Sam was coming and impressively, he turned it on to hold the gap to Sam. So there it ended, Ben then 10 seconds to Sam then 20 seconds to me.
I am super proud of Ben for riding strong the whole race and it was a well deserved victory. Honestly, the only thing better than me winning was watching my little brother take it home.

As far as how I felt?? Well after my debacling at Vermont I wasn't expecting much. Hydration was a challenge w/ only 1 mid race hand off, but for the most part I stayed cramp free. My descending was just fine, but my power, especially on the climbs, was not very good. On the great to horrible scale, I give the legs and OK on the day=) I am hoping this mid season lull in fitness will allow me to have more late season fitness at my favorite race, Maplelag=)

Next up is our bid for the 4 Man 24 National Championships. Our original team was Paul Hanson, Ben Portilla, Fisher and Myself (my bro thought that he would have already moved to Albany). However, a couple crashes later, Paul has a torn rotator cuff, and Ben P has a broke back (this past weekend; he is in pain but will make a full recovery). Our team has been modified to Ben, Me, Fisher, and SamO.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Good to be home.

Buck #?? was last night...anyway there are only 2 left. Fisher went off like it was the Nationals short track, with his wild bike whipping sprinting technique that has the fuel looking like a wet noodle. I followed him and we got a clean run through the first singletrack. When we hit the pavement climb (don't know why we call it that, it is almost all gravel now), we had a little sprint, and I caught his handlebar on my thigh when he started his sprint again. I am not sure if I was too close to him when I went around or if the handlebar swinging got me...probably a little of both. Anyway, all was ok by the top, and I got a clean look at the backside singletrack. By lap 3 the legs started to come around more, and I ended up w/ the solo win by about 3 minutes, with Dave Oachs in second and Fisher another minute behind him in 3rd.
It was good to be home and to have Tegan and Jen waiting for me at the finish line.
Spirit should be tough this weekend and I hear it might only be 2 laps because they are so long. It should be entertaining either way, as they have the most technical course I have encountered in the midwest.

Monday, July 21, 2008

US Nationals

I am sitting here in a hotel room in Albany NY waiting for my flight .... this trip was fun, but from a riding perspective not successful.
To start the weekend on Friday, Ben Portilla and Ben my brother both were on the podium in the Semi-Pro XC race. That was awesome to watch.
From Thursday until my race on Saturday at 2, it was just a lot of sitting and waiting...hard to deal with and something I am not used to back home where other obligations keep me busy up until race time.
The XC course pre-rides went well and I LOVED the course. It was basically a 20 minute climb and a downhill. The downhill was about the most fun one I have ever done.
However, in the XC I had my first DNF ever...this was very embarrassing and hard for me to swallow. I never thought I would quit a race for physical reasons, but I couldn't turn the cranks over after a strange start. The start was a cluster, and I was a little surprised at some of the areas that had pro level mountain bikers off their bikes. I did no less than 4 track stands in the first 2 miles because of people in front of me dabbing, slipping, etc. I got frustrated, had to run the whole first section of singletrack, and then the legs shut down. I shouldn't take for granted that I get to ride my own race most of the time in the Midwest!

On happier note, I also did the Super D....a very interesting blast of a race. The Super D is a mostly downhill time trial that pits XC guys, 4 cross guys, DH guys, etc against eachother. The course was GNARLY! It was about at the limits of my capability on my XC race bike. Schnell, Craig, and all of those going for the win were on their 6&6's (6" front and rear travel) and 2.5" downhill tires. The start was a run (w/ your bike) up a 30 yard rocky grassy hill before mounting your bike and heading down. I was right behind Adam Craig at the top until we hit the rocky 3-4 foot whoops/drops at the top. I followed Jay Richards down the rest of the way just making sure that I would get to the bottom in one piece. I never really over did it and rolled across the line with a smile on my face.

Looking forward, I will probably reboot this week with 3 (or as many as 7) solid weeks of racing coming up. Hopefully a second wave of fitness will be hitting later this season.