My family and I headed up to Duluth early Sunday for the MNMBS race at Lester Park. Casey has never been a good traveler, and this trip was no exception. Jen, Tegan and I were serenaded with crying, some screaming, and whining... until Jen put on the right hip-hop song. I think it is called “Run Away Baby,” although that type of music is WAY out of my wheelhouse. That said, a course like Lester is right in my wheelhouse…
The course at Lester is rocky, rooty, and punchy. Simply put, Lester park is another classic Duluth-style trail that requires a lot more than just a motor to do well. At the start, Jesse set a hard but not too hard pace up the couple mile gradual grassy ski trail climb (only done on the first lap). Jesse, Scotty, and I knew what was coming in the woods and everyone else in the lead group of 6 or so must have too, because as soon as the trail hit the woods it got very punchy and it is easy to go POP …something like 5-10s full on then 5-10s handling/down for the next ½ lap. I jumped ahead of Jesse as did Scotty KJ when we entered the singletrack. As I mentioned, this kind of track suits me well, and I thoroughly enjoy trying to go fast when 2 wheel slides, up hill sprinting, and bike flicking are part of the game. I never looked back and had ~3 min going into the final lap. Disappointingly, I did suffer some slight cramping for the first time this year, but downing most of my Gu Roctane bottle fixed that in about 1 minute (that drink mix has magical powers…my brother and wife have experienced it as well on hard rides/races). I slowed it down on the uphills the last lap and finished with that same 3 min on Jesse who picked up his pace and put a gap on Scotty KJ. I am pretty sure my dehydration was a buildup of nearly 4 days of constantly fighting 95 degree temps with mid 70’s dew points….and not resting, as Ben was in town=)
Equipment: I am totally sold on the new XR1 up front and XR0 in the rear for racing. I would throw the XR1 on the rear in dustier or slightly moist conditions. I also finally got a Monarch RT3 rear shock to match my SID fork… I haven’t had it long enough to do an honest review, but initial impressions are great.
Sunday night we stayed down on Canal Park in Duluth. We had a nice relaxing evening throwing rocks in the lake (one of our smaller household members’ favorite past times). Monday, we hung out for a while before the limited sleep induced melt-downs started ;-)
Until next time (Buck Hill)….