It’s really unfortunate when unjustified, bad press adversely affects great events. Such was the case with the Sycamore/Targhetto Time Trial. In the weeks prior to the event, I’d heard nothing but bad things about the Sycamore Trail and I think it had somewhat of a negative impact on the number of participants. On the Thursday before the event, I went out to recon the course and much to my surprise the trail was in about the same condition as it had been in previous years. There seemed to be more trash strewn about and an abundance of burned out cars. There was also a lot of standing water in the ruts that had accumulated from the rain that we had received a couple of days prior.
I rode the course again on Friday with WWJ and it had dried up considerably, though there was still some standing water in the ruts. As we were riding along the road that parallels the river, we can across some knucklehead driving his Ford F150 along the road. The driver looked at me as I passed and said that he was going to drag a car out of the area. I would have loved to have said something like ‘I don’t care what you think you are doing you jackass, get the hell off of our trail!’. I exercised a little restraint and only said ‘Thanks for screwing up our trail’. We rode a couple of laps of what we thought was going to be the course and as we were leaving the brick yard area the same knucklehead and his knucklehead friends were dragging an upside down minivan into the area. The hood was propped open on the pickup and apparently the idiots blew the motor up trying to drag the minivan across the rutted out dirt road. When we rode by them they looked pissed, so I looked at them and laughed. As we headed back down the access road we could see spots of red paint from the roof of the van all along the road. Stupid people suck. To add to the ghetto atmosphere, Chia was riding the trail later that day and said he saw two dudes ‘pleasuring’ each other. Referring to them as dudes is probably about as appropriate as their choice of venue for their activities.
On race day I got to the course about an hour early and went out for a pre-ride. Pre-riding and knowing a course like this is huge. It’s such a short race that it becomes even more important to know the trail. I went out on my ride solo so that I could focus on picking the best lines and not have to worry about carrying on a conversation with someone. I got back to the start area and checked out the starting order. I saw that I was about halfway down the list, so after Chris gave the pre-race announcements, I went out for another lap at a pretty moderate pace. I wanted to hit a few areas at race pace and get my lines dialed in. After doing the second lap I felt a lot more confident with how things were going to go, not to mention that my legs felt great.
As I was getting ready to go, I noticed that Cully Todd had made the trip from Iowa City. Cully put me in the hurt box twice this year and I was hoping to get a chance to return the favor. As I had mentioned in a previous journal, I like it when Cully shows up because he’s a very strong rider, he’s fun to race against and he always brings a bunch of hot chicks with him.
My start time had arrived and I was off like a ball of fire. I took a wide, sweeping line out of the parking lot and onto the trail. About halfway across the levee I settled into a good pace with my HR hovering around 185. I caught up to my minute man at the initial climb just before the brickyard. This portion of the trail is lined with trash on both sides and makes for a ghetto style gateway into the brickyard.
As I was making my way through the singletrack of the brickyard, I was hitting my lines and railing the corners. As I approached the first steep climb I could see my two minute man struggling at the bottom. I yelled out ‘on your right’ and he moved to the right side of the trail. Doh!!! I never bothered trying to ride the left side of the hill during my recon laps and I guess now was my chance…. Great! I made it up the hill without any difficulty and hit the second steep climb that followed shortly thereafter. I managed to scramble up the second climb with very little trouble also.
I hit the upper field and punched it wide open. I hit the descending portion of the course, flew down the hillside and into the bermed section of the course. This is my favorite part of the Sycamore trail. If you hit the berms just right, you can fly around the corners. I felt like I was riding on rails through the berms and lost very little speed. I hit the sandy Ford LTD portion of the course and launched myself off of the Ford LTD hood jump. As I hit the power line road, I could see my three, four and five minute dudes. I caught one of them on the road and the other two in the second bermed section of the trail. I hit the parking lot again and sprinted with everything that I had towards the finish line.
I finished with a time of 16:54, which was good enough for first overall and put me 30 seconds ahead of the second place finisher Cully Todd. Sweet. My average heart rate throughout the race was around 183 with a max of 188. Up until this race, my heart rate never got much above 180 for any substantial amount of time. I can take this as a good indication that the sharp end of my fitness is finally coming around.
After the race, myself, DQ, Dennis Grelk (Frankenbike man) and Grandmaster Lou headed over to the Science Center for more mountain biking bliss. My legs still felt good so I rode at about 80-85% effort. We did one lap and called it a day. If you’ve never ridden the Science Center, do yourself a favor and do it. It has to be one of the best urban mountain biking trail systems anywhere.
Before the race, Hairy (Jeremy Venable) came up to me and showed me that he had gotten a haircut. Dude, you still look like Davy Crockett. Nice job in setting up the course and good luck at Nationals.
Later that day I went over to Maharry’s to watch him and some others drink beer. It was a lot of fun watching them make asses out of themselves. It was so entertaining that I stuck around a lot longer than I had planned and even had a beer. Some of the more comical moments were the Steve Fry stories and everybody using his car as a urinal.
Next up is another dirty double weekend. I’ll be doing the Psycowpath suffer fest at Indian Cave State Park in Nebraska on Saturday and IMBCS #8 at Kendall Young Park on Sunday. I’ll be looking for wins on both occasions. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.