The first semi-legit (meaning, not shortrack) race of the year went off at Winter Park yesterday – the opening hillclimb. Shortest, but most painful race of the year. And best of all the singletrack is all still snowed in, so when you get done flogging yourself up 2000 feet, you get to ride right back down the dirt road.
The picture has nothing to do with the race, but I thought it was cool, a stream-vaulting action shot.
In any case, the team did great:
-Eszter chased the very quick Judy Freeman all the way up but could never quite catch her and was 2nd in the pro women’s race. She also took 9 full minutes off her old best time from 3 years ago!
-Sarah suffered like a dog, but stayed strong for 3rd in expert women, and was within 2 minutes of her best-ever time.
-Taryn did quite respectably in her first sport race and finished 17th.
-Rusty did his *first race ever* and was 13th out of an unbelieveable 63 riders in Sport 40-44! Nice job Rusty!
-Miguel was a solid 19th in the big (40 riders) pro men’s field.
-Jung began his season, as always, by suffering like crazy and was 36th in pro men.
We had an interesting field for the pro men’s race – there was a serious racer from the past (Jimi Killen), a roadie pro (Slipstream’s Jason Donald, ON A ROAD BIKE, no less), and the usual front range suspects. The race was fast from the gun, and I was off the back on the 34×20 in notime as folks bigringed it up the first bit of climbing on pure adrenaline. But pure adrenaline isn’t a great way to do a 30+ minute uphill effort, so I started catching riders left and right pretty quickly. After about 10 minutes, I was in the lead group of 5 or 6 riders. Slim Shady (Mike Mathers) made a move with about 2 miles to go that I only partially followed – after my massive blowup last year, I had no interest in trying to close the 30′ gap immediately, so I figured I’d save it and attack on the final steep section. No such luck, though, as Mike had enough juice (and I ran out of traction with my ‘cross tires on the gravel) to hold me off by 12 seconds. Tokyo Joe’s rider and all-around fast young punk Brady Kappius was right behind me for a solid 3rd.
Jeremy’s course record is 31:14, and I managed a 33:24 (the 5th fastest recorded time), so I think it might be conceiveable to break the record at some point – I finished the race with gas left in the tank, and I haven’t been riding or training all that much, so maybe next year…
The WW/Fuentes team currently sits in 11th in the team standings as well. Nice work everyone!