Friday, May 31, 2013

mountain biking in may.

This past month seemed to be about mountain biking as much as it as road racing. I first started mountain bike racing 2010 with a 7 mile time trial at Bavington i finished in just over an hour for the course, about 10-15 minutes behind the winners of my category. In 2011 i did my first real mountain bike race with a mass start, at wisp resort in deep creek, MD. Now as a road rider I have the engine for mountain biking, but in the woods im a neanderthal and just lack any finesse, most obstacles and technical stuff I'm slow through and pick the worst lines but still somehow manage to power through them. At wisp my first time, we started and had a fast and smooth start to the trail head. I hit the woods in second place or since this was my first mass start I didn't want to lead since I had no idea what I was doing. Well wisp is a straight down and back up course, especially this first year. By the time I had reached the base of the descent and started climbing I had lost a lot of time and was sitting in 6th or 7th place in the beginner field. The final ascent was about 3 miles of fire trails perfect for the roadie in me and I managed to pull back all my competitors and win my first ever mountain bike race by a couple of minutes. in 2012 I had intended to do more races since it was so fun and I could use the technical experience when it came to cross. Last years season started in may with 9 hours of cranky monkey, that I did with scott house and mike janeiro in 105+ trio. My time were in the middle of scott and mike and I didn't think they were too bad. By the end of the day we had managed to pick up 5th place in or category and lost 4th place by 4 minutes, coincidently I had stopped on my second lap to help someone with a broken chain for about 4 minutes. After a podium at cranky monkey I felt good about mountain biking and raced wisp again. This time I wouldn't enjoy wisp as much. Jr had changed the course this and added more single track to the start and on the finally climb but still had a long climb. since I win the beginner class the year before I didn't feel right about racing it again, and moved up to the sport class. Now instead of pushing hard on the climb I opted to take it easy because I now had a second lap to do, I crossed the line and started my second lap in just under a hour, about 10 mins faster than the beginners leaders actually did and I realized I made the right choice in not sandbagging. My second lap I had bonked and the base of the descent and once I started climbing I flatted and my spare tube had a slow leak in it, meaning I had to stop and refill it often. This made the final climb very grueling. I finished the day in dead last. In july I had injured myself and took a month off of riding and missed the last 2 abra races. This year started off with wisp. with a lot more single track than past years. It had been rain the days leading up and the entire race which lead to a very muddy course. I found out I really enjoy racing in the mud for cross, how about for mountain. A few weeks earlier I set up my wheels and tires tubeless and this was their first race experience. I had gotten the kenda navagals, my ideal tire because I like a tire that also looks like it will have awesome grip. Now on the descent this year with it being muddy some people were being a bit hesitant, I was just following wheels until I thought I could easily get around them and I was sitting in the top 10 before I lost my rear brake, I stopped on the tail side to try and fix it, but couldn't open my bag to get my multi tool, oh well it's just a rear I still have the front just have to be careful and not go over the bars. A mile later or so my rear derailleur quit shifting up the cassette but would shift down and could do it manually, I lost a few more places. A bit later going through some switch backs I realized I was going in too hot and grabbed the front brake and nothing, no brake and blew through the turn. At this point I called it I just wanted to get to the finish there was no way I was going to safely finish the race. I did a mixture of riding the climbs and running the descents and got to the finish. Though I will say that I truly enjoyed the mud and that the navagals made it even more fun had a couple people comment how much faster through the slop than they were, now if only my bike enjoyed the mud like I did.