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.