Tuesday, April 12, 2011

US Cup Report From Vegas Bob.

Hey Cap'n!
Last Sunday was number four in the Kenda Cup West series at Sycamore Canyon in Riverside and it was a great race. I headed out to the course on Saturday evening and although not in time to pre-ride I did get to hang out with Randy and Kim in their "Master Suite on Wheels" for a while before grubbing and settling into my "World's Smallest Tent" for the night.

I was woken up early by the BBQ truck pulling in, but luckily still got some good sleep. The Cat2/3 race didn't start until 10:30 so I had plenty of time to eat, check in with Rog & Co. at the Kenda spread, and then run a pre lap of this completely new venue. Ara showed up with Big Al just in time to join me. It was chilly and overcast in the morning, but it warmed up quickly, especially on the back side of the course. And what an amazing course it was! Lots of ups and downs, lots of twisty hardpack singletrack, and a bunch of great technical rock sections!

I finished and since my race wasn't until 1:30 I had plenty more time. I sat down and helped Vanessa hand bottles to Mark and Cheyne while Kim took charge of watering Randy. I guzzled some Amino Vital and chowed a banana and before long it was time to warm up, so I hit the course again. A good thing, too, because I had missed one of the two "Pro/Cat 1 only" sections on the first go-around. More singletrack and rocks, yay! I did however have a run-in with a fairly big greenish-yellow and black snake that was starting to cruise across the trail as I came by. Luckily he didn't like me and the tick-ticking of my freewheel and he made a 180 back into the rocks. I later learned that it was King Snake and not to be feared. Ah well, better safe than sorry.

I got back just in time to grab my Gel-Bots and head to the start line. As always it was a quick start, but it was a wide track and I thought passing would be fairly easy. Not so. There was definitely a faster line that was faster because of the shorter distance, and lack of gravel or grass. Unfortunately the upcoming singletrack would soon negate any chance of passing so I had to make a choice. And I chose to ride as hard as I could through some pretty horrible lines! It paid off, though, as I jumped into third before the singletrack. 1 & 2 had a few bike lengths on me, but it was good because we could all rail the swoops without slowing down. The rest of the group was right on my bike tire, though. I couldn't hesitate for even a split second. The one time I did, for a gulp of water, I was passed. A few climbs later I was able to get back by, though. Near the end of the first lap 1 & 2 were a good chunk ahead of us, but I couldn't keep my heart rate where it was so I slowed for a breather and was passed by a group of 3. I kept them in sight, though. and the second lap was a bit easier and I could take in fluid and gels more easily. On the 3rd lap it got a little more crazy, as some of the gnarly-fast Juniors behind caught up to us, and we all started lapping the slower riders. With lots of tech and singletrack, finding a place to pass became a creative endeavor. Our sort-of group of 4 played musical chairs a bit on that lap, with our leg markings cause for inspiration when he saw it was someone in our own class making the pass. I was definitely riding at the limits of my fitness and the edge of traction. By the end of the 3rd lap I was running 6th, but right on the bumper of 5th. As we crossed the start/finish and I got my last bottle, he slowed a bit and I decided to make my move the same place as the 1st lap. I pounded around him up the first stinger and was into the single track a few bike lengths ahead. The last lap was still a grunt, though. because he was back there the entire time and I knew if I let up he would capitalize on it. The 4th lap was going mostly uneventfully, I was trying to stay ahead and not get tangled up in traffic, when I came around a corner and Mr. King's horrible cousin Mr. Rattler was waiting for me! Luckily I was going horrendously fast and his two feet or so of angry was coiled up ready to strike and rather than try to brake or swerve or bunnyhop I just plowed over his hissing head and didn't look back. I yelled "Snake!" as loudly as I could and hoped that he was either dead or scared enough of bikes that the next riders wouldn't have any trouble. Two turns later I could see them still frantically chasing me and knew that they didn't have a problem.

With my near-traumatic experience out of the way, about halfway through the lap I saw Humberto, and he was definitely a carrot-stick in front of me to catch. I had finally done it, just before the last set of big climbs, but Humberto would have none of it. He kicked in the turbo and I had zero to match! My quads were on fire and I knew if I pushed any harder I would break. I kept him in sight though, and even spotted 4th place in my class as we rocketed over the last rocky sections and into the doubletrack to the finish. But I definitely couldn't make any ground on them. I did manage to stay 30 seconds ahead of 6th, and was only 50 seconds behind 4th, so ultimately a great finish. I can't wait for the next round!


Post a Comment

<< Home