Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Challenge at Mountwood - Or how I learned to push a bike up hill

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.


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