Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bob On The Box; Southridge Race Report!

!Hola, El Capitan!
Saturday I warmed-up my racing season with another Southridge Winter race in beautiful Fontucky! The temp was a perfect 68, with a crystal blue sky. My Kenda Karmas were aired up and I was ready to go. At least as ready as I could be after suffering for a few weeks through the flu that everyone has been getting out here.
They started us with the age groups younger and older than us to get a nice big pack start, and I took care not to ride the wrong way up the SuperD course like I did in my first race! Haha. We all remained together for the first doubletrack twisties, but at the first climb three guys already broke away. A minute later on the pavement climb the group started sorting itself out, and a quick look at my SigmaSport computer confirmed to me that my heart was going to explode out my nostrils if I tried to go any faster. So I settled into the middle of a line of riders as we got to the top of the asphalt and hooked a left onto the curly, rocky hillside singletrack and climbed some more. As we got into the downhill section I wanted to go faster, but traffic prevented me. I think it was a good thing, though, because it allowed my heart rate to settle. It was also interesting to be in a race group again since it's been so long since I've raced and I could watch the lines the guys in front of me were taking through technical sections compared to the ones I was taking.
Their winter series courses are a smidge shorter than the US Cup ones, only about 5 1/2 mile laps, so before I knew it I was 3/4 through the first lap and was dropping down the fireroad behind the houses on the back of the course and speeding along the chainlink fence next to the concrete barranca toward the start/finish line. I had picked up a tail, but with a slight headwind and not knowing if he was even in my age group, I didn't bother spending energy trying to shake him. It worked out to my benefit, though, since as we started lap two he pulled through and towed me all the way to the first climb. But he faded as the pitch turned upward and I was back on my own. As I started the dirt climb, Vu Le, a great guy I know from racing mtb and cyclocross went past me. Although he's 15 years my junior I know we have a similar pace so it was a great motivator to stay up with him. Especially since he was riding a 1X setup and wearing baggy shorts because he was doing SuperD later that day! On the last steep climb I was able to power past him, and had the dh section wide open ahead of me to fly through all by myself.
I came through for the third lap and could hear I had picked up another rider on back wheel. As I made the hairpin turn from pavement to dirt it was easy to glance back at his number plate and figure out that he was definitely in my group. It was fairly obvious he knew he was in my group as well, because in a flatter doubletrack section of the uphill he flew around me. He was hauling, and I was sure I wouldn't be abe to keep up with him on the climb. Strangely though, we curved around a switchback and the trail got steeper and he slowed dramatically. There weren't tons of places to pass on the course, and since there were technical rock sections ahead I didn't want him to hold me up I struggled past him. He was still right behind me, but not directly on my wheel through the crooked rocky stuff. I was sure all I had to do was keep him behind me on the last climb by the water tower and I could hold him off until the end. The climb came and I gave it everything I could, managing to stay ahead of him. As we wound around the downhill for the last time I could hear his tires fading a little further back every few turns. I charged up the last fireroad and got to the top and he was nowhere in sight! I kept on the gas to the finish and ended up beating him by a paltry 22 seconds! What a race.
The first three to take off at the beginning were all in my category, so I came in fourth, which I'm very happy with for the start of the season but hope to improve upon in short order.
I definitely want to thank my sponsors Amino Vital for hydrating my and fueling my muscles, SigmaSport computers for providing me with all the data I need to train and race, Kenda tires for keeping me glued to the course, xpedo pedals for giving me the lightest, strongest pedals out there, Hydrapak for making the incredible Gel-Bot so I never have to fumble with gel packets while I'm racing, Royal Racing for gloves to keep my hands protected and comfy, KMC chains for making sure my power gets to the back wheel, Ryders eyewear for keeping me stylish in the bright California sun, Marzocchi for a fork with all the functions that still keeps my Tomac fully at just over 24lbs, and Voler cycling clothing for keeping my body cool and my butt cushioned on a tiny-ass race seat! I look forward to a great 2013 representing you all! See you next week at Vail Lake for the US Cup Series opener.