August 24, 2008

Race report: WP #6

No pictures today, kids. But I think the previous post made up for that, no? MC is going to submit some of those to Bike, DirtRag, and anywhere else he can think of. I think they’re plenty good enough to get published.

Anyway, on to the race:

The team: Decimated (as an aside, check out the etymology of “decimate” – pretty crazy!) Fuentes was racing Eldora, Rusty has a slipped disc in his back, Miguel is gone to who knows where consulting on a water project, Jung’s hand is still broken, and Eszter wants to “ride for fun” or some such pansy nonsense. So it was just me, Sarah, and Taryn representing.

The course: Technical. And by technical, I mean similar to operating a jackhammer for 90 minutes. We did three laps at the top of the mountain (accessed by the chairlift) which were some of the rootiest, rockiest singletrack I’ve ever seen. Then we descended a trail called Icarus, which featured a whole lot more rocks, as well as a couple of terrifying 40+ mph fire road sections. Throw in one last “f-you” climb just before the finish (which I think everyone walked at least some portion of) and you’ve got a really nice race course. I guess my description doesn’t really make it sound that great, but in actuality it was fun – the mental focus required to hold the right line and hang on (no resting on these descents!) was crazy, though.

The start: As usual, I started at the very back. The opening climb was only about 3 minutes long, and it wasn’t very steep, so I spun out and drifted backwards until things kicked up a bit. Managed to hit the singletrack in about 10th, though, and passed a couple riders on the first descent, then a few more on the climb.

The rest of the race: My good friend Paco (actually, Matt) and I rode together for most of the first and second laps, with him dropping me like a bad habit on the most technical bits, and me making the time back up on the smoother stuff and climbs. I finally managed to drop him halfway through lap 2 and I spent the rest of the race looking at the fabulous ass of my arch-nemesis Mike Mathers. And, as usual, while I was able to keep him in sight virtually the whole way to the finish, he prevailed again, by 10 seconds or something. I ended up 5th, not too shabby, but given the depleted field (Brian Head epic and Eldora MSC were on this weekend as well) I wasn’t all that impressed with myself.

Final thoughts: Whereas at Crankworks I was able to really make myself go for it at the end of the race, today I felt distinctly unaggressive and really felt like I could have gone faster. Bummer. Maybe it was the roughness of the opening laps, maybe I’ve just given up on ever beating Mike, maybe I’m getting burned out and ready to spend the fall doing fun epic rides. Who knows. In any case, I’m in reasonably good shape for the series (I could conceivably be 2nd, and I have a good shot at 3rd), so hopefully King of the Rockies will go well for me next weekend.

Sarah was suffering today but riding well on the descents and finished mid-pack in the expert women’s race. I don’t yet know how Taryn did, and the WP website has yet to post any results, so hopefully she did well.