August 27, 2007

Winter Park finale, mini-vacation

So, Chris has my camera, so no pictures until I get it back, but you can see a little bit of what Sarah and I were up to at Gooney Riders.

The Tipperary race is a classic, and for good reason – it’s got almost every kind of terrain (from wet roots to perfect hardpack), it’s long (almost 26 miles, 4k+ feet of climbing), and it’s been going for more than a decade. Plus it draws the big names – Jimmy Mortenson narrowly beat out Lance Armstrong on this course in 1999, and this weekend’s race drew JHK, Heather, Georgia Gould, Keri Barnholt, and a lot of other top pros. I’ve raced it three times (counting this last one) and until Saturday, I’d never made the start on time. I don’t know what my problem is, but I seem to never make the starts of the races that start across the valley in Frasier.

In any case, I actually managed to make my start (the announcer was saying “3…2…” as I rolled up to the line) and I immediately launched a glorious solo attack on the initial 3 mile flat fire road section. Needless to say, I quickly spun out/blew up and settled back into the pack. Ended up dead last into the singletrack somehow, but picked it back up and passed a ton of folks on the initial long climb and descent. I fought back and forth with 3 or 4 guys in the middle section of the course, then blew up spectacularly in the last 1/3 of the race and ended up 9th of 36 finishers. My lack of time on the bike since the shoulder injury definitely showed – I was pedaling squares by the end of the race. Jeremy won and set a course record of 1:41 – that’s over 15mph on a serious mountain bike course with a lot of climbing. Wow! Notably, he and Heather (who won the women’s pro race) both rode 29ers. Cool.

Sarah bonked and finished in the middle of the expert pack somewhere, but held on for the series overall. Tary was 2nd or 3rd and won her beginner series, and Brian K ended up 4th overall in the very competitive expert 30-34 category. Good times. We hung around for the raffle, in which I won a 26″ tire (yay!) and a cheesy compass/whistle/thermometer thing. Sweet.

Sunday was a sweet, epic ride, followed by a lot of beer drinking and stupidity. Check out gooneyriders for Eszter’s take on the shenanigans, I might write something up when I have some photos to share. Let’s just say that the weekend included almost 8 hours of riding and the consumption of a herculean amount of alcohol and ice cream. Best weekend of the summer, IMO.