Wednesday, April 20, 2011
This weekend was the Big Bear Classic in the beautiful countryside of West Virginia. Nestled up in the hills is Big Bear Lake surrounded by 4000 acres of private forest land with approximately 40 miles of single track. The terrain offers a variable mix of technical climbs and descents with twisty single track in between.
The experts race had an interesting twist in that they had a short prologue with a $30 prime for the first one across the line. This brought the racers back around for some cheers from the waiting sport and beginner racers. The sport and beginner was a mass start with all charging down a short section of double track and into a bottleneck at the first incline. The bottleneck is of course a large rock on one side and trees on the other. I worked my way through some stopped riders and into the middle of the pack and was feeling pretty good until I dropped my chain the first time. Something that was going to be part of the rest of my race. We got into the single track which was nice and twisty for the first couple of miles and then got more technical. Miles 3 and 4 consisted of some nice technical and muddy singletrack. There were some fun rolling rock drops and some narrow jaunts through boulders. I caught my wheel a couple of times that resulted in a little "a" over teakettle. My legs were feeling pretty good and whenever I stopped it gave me a chance to get something to eat and drink.
There were some nice climbs with flowing downs. It seemed like I would work my way into a group and then get past them and have a problem. At one point I lost my heart rate monitor watch and had to go back to retrieve it. Luckily somebody had picked it up and handed it off to me as they passed. With my watch back on and about 3/4 of the way through the race I wanted to make up some of the places that I lost.
I came in at 8th place for my class which was about the middle of the group. Amanda on the other hand did a little bit better. Here she is at the end:
Look at that smile, she thinks she did well.
Here she is with her second place mug. And here is my award which they gave to everyone:
The last piece of info is Amanda's prize from last week, a new floor pump.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
This weekends race at Mountwood outside of Parkersburg West Virginia was a welcome relief to riding on the cold roads of Oberlin, Ohio. With the first real hot day coming in at over 80 we knew that it would be tough but how tough I didn't know. We got up at 6 am for the three hour drive to the event which started at noon. Sufficeth to say we made it to the venue with plenty of time to spare but lacking our trustee floor pump.
After sorting everything out, getting registered and dressed we went out for a quick ride which is when I noticed that my front derailleur was not retracting properly between the high and low gears. I had taken care to make sure that everything was shifting fine the day before but somewhere along the line something occured resulting in some binding in the derailleur itself causing it to stick in the high gear. Fortunately I got the shifting working to an acceptable level and was ready to race. Or so I thought...
I got grouped with the sport men vet, because I am racing in the Ohio series which has different age groupings I was in with the 34+ ages. I was actually ok with this since I don't really want to race against the 19-29 year olds if I don't have to. We were the third group out with a short climb followed by quick steep corner onto some double track. This corner was the bottle neck that started the breaking up of the group. Since about half of the guys paused and lost momentum bottling up the rest of the group. I was lucky and got a clear line through some of the guys without having to get off my bike. We had warmed up on the first climb and so I was prepared for some of the steeper sections. I was pushing myself along trying to get into the middle of the pack and maintain a good pace only passing as needed. My heart rate was bumping pretty high and the heat was starting to affect my need for water. I was tracking between some groups that were making good pace but after the first couple of miles I could tell that there was something wrong with how I was feeling overall. I woke up that morning with a nasty runny nose and overall was not feeling terribly well and it sure felt like I was doing a lot of climbing. But then we started going down hill and everything was good, or so I thought...
More climbing pretty much sums up this race for me with a fair amount of walking. Throughout the race I was having bouts of doubt about whether or not I was going to actually finish. My goal for the race eventually changed from coming in middle of the pack to just finishing the damn thing and getting some water and food. By the last mile I was willing to bag it all and quit except that I still needed to get back to the car so I needed to finish. Rolling into the finish I got some water and made it back to the car in time to see Amanda coming down the last stretch.
Overall the race was fun but much harder than I expected. Good single track with lots of climbing and fun (short) descents. Oh and Amanda got 3rd so we got a new floor pump.