Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A cool one indeed

This year at the Bluff Rider's Charge there were several firsts:This was the first race that Charlotte rode her Strider bike at.It was the first time the MINI hauled the cargo box with the Burley inside.It was the first time I raced the Taurine on these trails.And it was the first time that it wasn't 95+ degrees out.There was as stiff breeze however, but I'll take that over the heat anyday.We arrived early so we could see Brad and Matt race. It was fun hanging with both of them before and after their races. As I was venturing out for photos and video I could feel the trail was a bit damp. It wasn't damp enough to be thrown around by the tires, but I could see some sections of the luge were a bit slick. After talking to Brad and then Matt, it seemed the course was drying up nicely. I'm guessing the clear skies and 20mph winds did the trick.I got myself ready to go and found Dan - who arrived ON TIME - and we started riding around to warm up. We got back to the start finish line and everyone was ready to go - whoops. We took our spots in the back of the pack and waited for the start.Luckily there was no prologue this year! Thank you course organizers. I don't like it for the reason that it adds a lot of climbing, but it also doesn't seem to do much in the way of thinning the field. The corners on the way down are always tricky with everyone and seems more dangerous than doing good. But anyway - there was none of that and we all took off for the first climb. The gravel singletrack climb was mowed to accomodate two or three riders wide, but it was littered with random holes. Fortunately there were cones in the holes so they were easily avoided. As we made our way up the climb, positions were jockeyed for and at times we were going up three wide. The Taurine and the legs felt good and we made some good passes. I could see Dan about 10 riders ahead of me. By the time we started the first singletrack portion there were about 6 riders between us. I tried to maintain the gap and keep myself fresh for the upcoming 4 laps. Once at the top of the hill, we turned into the wind on a slight climb and it was more work than I thought it would be. Luckily there were riders in front of me to help block some of the wind. I'm really enjoying how well the Taurine rides. Accelerations are instant and it really does handle like a dream. I was able to make passes where I usually would have waited for a better spot. Through three laps I managed to slowly get closer to Dan and I was feeling pretty good. During the race I had been drinking HydroBOOM and taking shots of CarbBOOM from my flask. I think I managed to drink about a half a bottle a lap (It's probably not enough, but if you know me, you know that's a lot for me.). One of my favorite parts of the trail came as we dropped down to The Maze. Several switchbacks in the woods, a jump onto the ski run and then back into the woods for some high-speed sweeping turns. On every lap I managed to close gaps in the switchbacks and by the time we were getting ready for The Maze I could make some passes. Several riders were kind enough to move over for me, with one dude looking back like I was about to run him over. I'm thinking it was the squeal of my rotor that gave him the hint. We were on a highspeed section and I had to slow down to not hit him. Several times. Finally, we moved over and let me by. I've always loved The Maze. It's literally a bunch of sweepers tied together. There's no straight section until you exit. You're totally leaning in the corners and testing the fine line between braking and breaking loose. I hauled ass in there and felt really good. It was a nice break before heading back up the hill. That wasn't really my favorite part, but I think I did okay. Once at the top, we dropped in to The Quick Release. This part is new the last couple of years. But the trail has been there for a long time. I remember hitting portions of it way back when I was racing the MB-1. The entrance was the same, but at one point the new stuff takes a right turn and we hit more roots and then drop down. Each time I hit The Quick Release I was in a group and wished I wasn't because the Taurine was soaking up all the roots and we were flying through there with no problems.Here's a shot of me in the early laps doing The Quick Release:Tracy was fantastic at doing water hand ups for me. She was ready every time and we haven't once missed or dropped a bottle. Things went smooth for the start of my 4th lap as I started climbing. I could still see Dan, but he was starting to get away from me. I could see he was on a dudes wheel and wondered if he had enough to make a pass or if I would be able to catch them and we could ride the last lap together.Soon enough I found the answer as I could feel my legs get tired. Just starting to run out of gas (maybe I should have had 2 hot dogs for lunch...). I tried to keep the pace high and make up time where I thought it mattered. A couple times I told myself "Let's go! You're racing here!"By now I was finding fewer racers to catch and spent lots of trail time by myself. I managed all the tricky parts just fine - the nasty, dropping hairpin, Mad Squirrel, fast switch backs, etc. It was the last time to hit The Quick Release and then it was easy to the finish line. I entered my usual line and bounced around off the roots (thanks to my high psi) and turned the corners nicely to get lined up for the last portion. Since there was no one in front of me I came in pretty hot. 3 times prior I had aimed for a large tree on my left to go over the roots and turn right down the drop. This had worked well for me as I was going over the larger diameter roots and had less steering correction on the way down. This time however, on the last lap, I messed up and had too much speed as I headed for the tree. I manged to scrub off the speed and start the turn to drop, but I must have overcorrected and the bike was headed to the right, but my body didn't quite follow and I went tumbling. I went down pretty hard and remember being upside down.Head, meet ground. Ground, meet head.The Taurine came and landed on top of me, almost as if it was trying to catch up with me and say "Here I am, let's go!" My bottle landed right in front of me and I grabbed it and put it back in it's place.After I got up, I looked around and yelled "whoooo eee!". There was one dude standing off to the side not moving or saying anything. Almost as if he had just seen a ghost. Weird. The Taurine seems to ride just fine, so I hauled her in to the finish line with dirt all over my left side. Just after The Quick Release I saw Dana the photographer and told her she just missed my crash - bummer. So that was my race. I placed 9th age group and 26th overall.I saw that Dan snagged another podium!! Nicely done - that's 3 out of 4 so far. And one race he was 15 minutes late to. Keep it up.Did you race? Do you have any stories?

4 comments:

  1. You totally would have passed me if wasn't for your high PSI. :)

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  2. High PSI! I think the US Anti-Doping Agency should look into this!

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  3. Nice work. I wish I could crash and just get some road rash. It seems that I'm either A-OK, or in the hospital.

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