Sunday, March 19, 2006

SS State Championships Review

First off, thanks to Shey Linder and family, Adam Jones, and Scott Hodge for a fantastic event. Niether Shey nor Adam got to race today because there was simply too much to do. Although they were the promoters, it sucks when you cannot race because of what seems like "work". These guys busted their asses all fall for a great 'cross series, and they continued (with Scott's co-promotion) with a great, challenging course.

After doing well in a TT effort last weekend, I was pretty fired up about this race. I really thought I had a chance to finally win a state championship. Turns out I did have a chance, but as Museeuw would say, "I did not have any lucky."

I saw a number of familiar faces at the venue, notably Ben, Tim, Mark, Mark S., Trish, etc. I had a dynamite warm up ( I was the only poser on a trainer!), and felt very prepared. My thoughts were to go for it from the gun since the tight single track and painful uphill section called "vesuvius" would decide the race. Only 11 folks pre-registered and there were 50+ at the start. We lined up on a grassy downhill that led into a gravel road and around the pavillion for our "parade lap". As we rolled off I found it hard not to laugh at us trying to pedal fast on a downhill with one speed. We must have been all trying to hold 200 rpms!

I was second in line after the parade route and the hole shot. I felt great, holding the wheel of the rider in front through the single track. You could hear the thundering herd behind, and we had about 10 seconds on them. I was passed by another rider and the leader did not close the gap, so I did. At this point I was feeling confident. Then the ssssssssss I did not want to hear.

At least a front tire flat was better than a rear and I usually pride myself in how fast I can fix flats. This one took me 2.5 minutes. But, since we had a small gap on the herd, they rolled by including Mark S. and Mark Johnson (GTCers).

--Having a baby has changed a lot for me. In terms of racing, it means picking races I think I can realistically win or podium. With the flat, the temptation of bagging it was not an option, since my time out there was time away from the family.--

I literally made myself throw up trying to catch back to the front. The bad part was that my flat came right at the beginning of the expert section which included the "Blair Witch" portion of twisty, tight single track. Everyone was nice enough to give me room to pass, and I made up some ground. Then Mt. Vesuvius hit and I busted a lung getting up. I did manage to see my HR at this point and it was 181 bpm (out of 185 according to the read out). After the hill I was baked. I knew there was no way to catch the leaders.

I ended up TTing the rest of the way and did make up some ground by the second lap. I was tempted to stop after the first lap, but figured I had nothing to lose and maybe the riders in front of me started out too fast and would eventually bonk. Surprisingly, the second lap was OK but very painful. My back, hamstrings and claves had tightened up and I was cramping. However, I was faster than before (now that I was aerobic) and this was encouraging.

It sucks to be able to hear the announcer announce the winner while you are still riding the course. I ended up in the last 200 meters having to sprint it out for a place. I beat one rider, one rider beat me. You can only spin that small crank so fast after that hell without throwing nuts and bolts.

I have no idea where I placed. I assume within the top 20. I was hurting and upset at myself for the flat, but hey, what can you do?

**Mark Stewart had a brilliant ride on a rigid forked bike, after going over his handlebars, finishing in the top 10. He is sometimes overshadowed by other riders in the club, but Mark is a fantastic rider I can learn a lot from.**

||Update-Mark posted that I took 14th, only 2.5 minutes behind him||

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