Saturday, June 27, 2009
Today was the second bike race of the Winter Park series, and it was a course I liked last year with some changes. It is about 18 miles with about 2,700 ft of elevation gain. The race starts off with an annoying 1.5 mile gravel hill climb. After about 200 yards, I was maybe 15th. But then things changed. I got a really good rhythm and kept a steady effort. Most of the people in front of me started coming back to me. We hit the single track and I was 5th. The first couple miles are pretty tight with limited room for passing, and it is a rocky gradual downhill. I let it rip and was attacking as soon as I got to the trail. After maybe 1/4 mile I passed the 4th place rider. I was feeling really good uphill and downhill-which is normally a weakness of mine. I rode a really clean race for the most part. There were some wet areas with roots that I got caught up in with some other people and had to run my bike until I found a good spot to get back on. A little bit later there was a fast tight rocky downhill that made a 120 degree turn and went uphill. I was screaming downhill into it and had to lock up the rear brake to do a controlled skid and was able to point my bike in the right direction without skipping a beat and in doing so I passed a rider in my age category. There is a stream crossing on the course that we were warned was tire deep, unrideable, and pretty strong. I came around a corner and hit the crossing pretty fast and managed to make it 3/4 of the way through before being knocked over by the current. The water was most likely snowmelt and it was freezing. I was alone for a while to make the final push to the last real climb of the race. I knew were I was and for the most part what was in front of me. I had about 4 miles of switch back single track to the finish and knew without any major mistakes I had a good position locked up. My new Continental Mountain King 2.2 run with Stans @ 28 psi hooked up amazing on all the downhills. I could not believe the control of the bike. I entered the last section of single track to the finish by myself, and quickly caught and passed a few riders. The raced ended with a 200 yard long gravel road. As soon as I was dumped out to the bottom, I sprinted against no one. I was 4th out of 30, which is my best race since moving to Colorado. I felt strong the whole ride and was able to maintain a high heart rate. I even talked to JHK before the race and saw his new GF Superfly 100. It is HOT. Oh, and he beat me by 30 minutes! JHK rolled in for the win 4 minutes up on the next fastest pro. I finally put together a strong race from start to finish. I was beginning to wonder if this would ever happen in Colorado.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Today I wanted to redeem and punish myself for what I thought was an unimpressive first mountain bike race. Jeremy (I think I punished him more!) and I went to Evergreen to try Squaw pass. The road starts at 7,800 ft. and summits at 11,200 ft. I thought it would be about 8-10 miles. I was wrong, it was 15. It is a really nice and steady climb. The two of us started out about the same time as some other random dude. We latched onto his wheel and followed him for a mile or so not knowing what to expect. It was time for my pull, and I was starting to warm up. Every time I looked back I noticed they were a few bike lengths behind. I tried to keep a good rhythm and not redline but the tempo was a bit much for the others. The sun was out and it was a really nice day, not to mention we saw snow capped mountains all around us, so I sat up a bit and enjoyed the view as much as the company and effort. At a decent effort, it took me 1.5 hours to reach the summit. We rested for a moment, ate cliff bars, and put on arm warmers for the descent down the winding road. There were quite a few switch backs and blind corners. It was a really fun descent, and we were able to haul down, except for the times when a few cars slowed us down. We had to pass them to keep from riding the brakes. The reward for the tough climb was a 30 minute downhill with speeds ranging from mid twenties up to forty miles per hour.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Today was the first Winter Park race. It is 5.2 miles and starts at about 9,000 ft. and goes to a little over 11,000 ft. My game plan was to start off and not blow up. The first mile or so is pretty steep, so I thought I would spin a high cadence. For most of the first three miles I was not to far off the lead group. About that time they started to pull away and I could not keep the same pace. My heart rate for the race once I got in a groove was 177 and up, which is quite high. This is the first time I've done this race, and I thought based on last years times I could beat 45 minutes. Unfortunately when the clock stopped, I had a time of 48:26. This was only good for 14/30 in my age category. I was completely gassed at the finish, and am pretty happy with my effort, but I am not happy with my results. I don't think riding at elevation was a limiting factor, I just think I did not have it today.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Sunday was a day of recovery and with the Winter Park mountain bike series approaching I thought it would be best to recover at elevation. Most races start around 9,00 feet. Jeremy and I went up to the Squaw pass near Mt. Evans. I am not sure what the elevation is, but I think it is over 10,ooo feet. Any attempt to get acclimated to the elevation. It also looks like one hell of a climb on the bike. Can't wait to try it.