Going into the weekend, I kept a watchful eye on the weather forecast for the weekend. Not that it really means anything as we all know that a meteorologist has one of the most forgiving jobs in existence. As it turned out, the weather all week was good enough that by the weekend, the trails were in near perfect condition.
The 2nd edition of ‘La Madre de Las Montanas’ was located at Sockum Ridge State Park, just south of Iowa City. The place is a diamond in the rough, fast, technical, flowing trails. I’ve been looking forward to this one. The stage race format is pretty cool, though for whatever reason, I wasn’t looking forward to an entire weekend away from home. It’s only May but I’ve been gone racing my bike somewhere every weekend since the beginning of April.
So Friday night a couple of friends of mine, were getting hitched in the Amana’s. It was a really nice wedding, lot’s of fun, lot’s of friends and lot’s of Amish food (fried chicken, pork chops, roast beef, fried potatoes, Costco chocolate cake and wine that I would liken to Shim’s favorite Port wine, ugh). And yes... I ate it all... lot’s of greasy fried chicken, lot’s of greasy pork chops and lot’s of greasy potatoes, cake… I made a pig of myself... we’re talking major food coma. It was all I could do to walk around. I figured the next days races were all short, intense efforts so I didn’t really need to worry too much about consuming food for stamina… yeah, I know, not real sound logic, it’s pretty amazing what kind of power greasy food can have over the functionality of one’s brain during life's week moments.
So Saturday’s race went a little something like this. We started off with the time trial which a lap of the cross country course backwards. I was a little concerned about the days events because I’ve done little to no LT training this season. I was pretty close to the middle of the starting order and in a race like this I’m always concerned about traffic. I started my lap and was very slow to ramp the intensity up. Once I got going things started to flow really well. Bike handling was pretty good, grazed a few trees but no direct hits. Caught and passed a four or five of the peeps that started in front of me. I ended up winning the TT with a time of 16:08, Dominic Moraniec came in 2nd with a time of 17:00, Tater Tot was 3rd in 17:07. I was off to a pretty good start!
Next up was the hill climb, which consists of charging up a gravel road, looping around at the top, then bomb your way back down to the bottom. I took off up the hill with my front and rear shocks locked out to maximize the amount of power going from my legs to my bike. I charged my way up the hill, hit the loop, unlocked both shocks and hit the descent with a little caution, didn’t want to wash out in all of the loose gravel. I ended in 1st with a time of 1:14.26, Sea Biscuit came in 2nd with a time of 1:17.26, with Dominic rounding out the top three with a time of 1:17.76.
We finished off the day with the STXC, which consisted of a loop that we raced around for 20 minutes plus two laps. The legs were still kind of smartin’ from the days earlier efforts so I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of ‘em. The madness started, not sure that I remember who took the early lead, me? Dominic? Maybe it was Tater? Anyway, I ended up leading with Dominic snappin’ at me heals for the first have of the race. I eventually gapped him and shifted into overdrive for the win. Dominic came in 2nd and WWJ followed in 3rd.
Sunday was the XC race, Cully showed, Nathan Moenck was there, cool… I knew it was gonna be a hard, fast race. The race started with Cully drilling up the hill. I had my usual issues with getting clipped in, once I got my feet hooked up I had to put myself into the red zone to catch up to the leaders. Cully led it into the singletrack, followed by Nathan and myself. Cully continued with the insane pace, I was in the hurt locker and I couldn’t find my way out. Cully started to gap Nathan and I, then Nathan started to put some space between he and myself. Next thing I know, Nathan’s on the side of the trail, said he dropped his chain. I passed by and never saw him again until we neared the finish.
Cully continued to increase his gap until about midway through lap 2. I eventually caught and passed him somewhere during lap 3. He looked like he was kinda payin’ the price for the fury that he unleashed at the start. I continued to increase the gap and towards the end of the race, I could tell that Nathan was starting to close in on me. I kept my good eye on him and put it in cruise control. I took home the W with a time of 1:50:49, Nathan brought home 2nd with a time of 1:52:30. Cully came home in 3rd with a time of 1:55:24.
Props go out to Andy, Kristin and Andy’s parents for putting together a great weekend of racing! I’ve kinda fallen behind on the race updates, I’m a busy man with training, running a mountain bike series, coaching, working, eating, sleeping and more eating… I love eating…
Thanks for reading,