Thursday, July 7, 2011

Firecracker weekend

This past weekend I raced the Firecracker 50 for the first time.  Its a classic Colorado mountain bike race that starts as part of the 4th of July parade.  I met up with Tim friday night to spend the weekend getting aclimated to the elevation and get some good rides in.  We rode two hours Saturday and got in a good chunk of the Colorado trail right from our camp site.  As of last weekend, there is still a fair amount of snow above 10,800ft.  Saturday and even Sunday's short ride I was still feeling the altitude. 
Breck camping spot
Dirty E in the woods

I ended up riding in the Maverick category since I forgot my USA cycling license (wanted to race CAT1).  My legs felt like boards for the first two miles, but then I started to open up.  Once I entered the singletrack I started to pick riders off and get a bit of recovery from the long climb.  I felt pretty good the first lap and was about on pace for a 5hr 30 minute pace.  The climb off the start of lap two drained me a fair amount and I could feel my pace slip.  I still had the energy to ride off of a ramp on the climb up and jumped a log that a group put off to the side of the road (as seen at about minute 11 of the video below) which I got a lot of cheers for even though I turned down the shot of Wild Turkey that was the award for this stunt (certainly would have lead to my demise).  Lap two was I was still able to keep a good tempo.  I even had the alertness to drop an Outkast reference after a volunteer said its down hill forever as I responded with a "for ever ever" (video for those of you who don't know).

I ended up with a time of 5:45 on a course that was longer than last year and included more singletrack.  I raced my Schwalbe Racing Ralph for the first time.  Its about 150 grams lighter than the tire I was using on the front but it still inspired confidence on the loose descents yet rolled a lot faster.  After this weekend I now have 14 days of camping for the year.  A pretty good video of the race I found here.  Note at 12:35 of the video there is a pretty crazy crash.  Word is the rider was fine.  GPS info from race here.  The race was a ton of fun and the volunteers were amazing-all the aid stations were well stocked.

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