Photos courtesy of Superfly, Mountain Goat and Skinny Ski
Chalk up another fun filled weekend in the great white north! The weekend started with a short trip to Ames to spend the evening with Julie where I made a pig out of myself on fish tacos, an ice cold bottle of Fat Tire followed by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bowl of apple crisp ala mode. Drove the rest of the way to River Falls the next day where I hooked up with Tyrine, Tim, Mikey and a few others from Milwaukee. They rented a pretty cool house for the weekend and let me crash on the floor. They cooked a pretty awesome meal and I once again made a pig out of myself. After dinner, we sat out on the deck around a fire pit lookin’ thing and shot the breeze until it was lights out time.
Pig'n out with the homies.
Lot's of sweet bikes.
Now that's a fire!
I never complain about race courses. All of the folks that put on races typically put forth a lot of work to get everything ready, especially those that put on a WORS race. The course at River Falls was about 90% singletrack, which was a lot of fun to ride. However a race course should typically have about a 50/50 mix of singletrack and double track give or take 10, otherwise it’s going to be a follow the leader type of race. There were quite a few places to pass if you were creative and were willing to ride off course. The first half of the course looked like it was brand spankin’ new, very bumpy, very tight, very twisty with a lot of sections having little to no flow. The second half of the course looked like it was made from pretty well established trails that were fast and had some sweet flow. It also had this pretty sweet North Shore lookin’ bridge that took you around a banked corner. It was on a pretty steep slope, so that if you took it too hot, the edge of the bridge would launch you into orbit. All in all, it was a pretty sweet course, I had a great time as I always do when I’m riding my mountain bike in the woods of Wisconsin!
The race. In the WORS series, all of the series leaders get call ups to the start. They also give call ups to Pro’s and Semi Pro’s, so I got a call up and ended up in the 3rd row in a field of about 60 Pro’s, Semi Pro’s and Experts. The race started and within seconds, my legs were filled up to my hips with lactic acid. About 200 yards into the race, we were routed up a medium pitched hill that continued for another 200 yards. I got off to a mediocre start as this old engine just doesn’t rev as high as it used to and I ended up eating a lot of dust throughout the start. By the time I got to the top of the hill I was pretty wiped out and wasn’t able to take much advantage of the double track at the top to gain a few positions.
Release the hounds!
I'm in there somewhere.
We hit the singletrack and I was still trying to recover from the balls out pace of the start. I have no idea what place I was in at the time, maybe 30th? After a few miles, there was some dude on my wheel and he asked if I’d let him by. I thought about his inquiry for a few seconds… this is a bike race right? I don’t think that I’ve ever had a fellow competitor ‘give’ me a position, I almost always have to earn the position. I don’t remember exactly what my reply was, but after a short while he decided to assert himself and being the sporting person that I am, I gave him as much room as I could without slowing myself down. During my ‘recovery’ period, I was passed by another cat.
The start really seemed like it took a toll on me and I finally got my racing legs back about midway through lap 1. Between being cross-eyed and the first half of the course not suiting my racing style, I felt pretty clumsy throughout the first half of the lap. I noticed a few mechanical casualties along the course during the first lap, mostly due to flat tires. I was running my tubeless set up with Stan’s and had about 25 psi in the front and rear which seemed pretty ideal for this course.
The next four laps were progressively better and I could tell that I was riding the more technical sections faster and faster which each lap. I picked off quite a few dudes towards the end of the race, especially on the last lap, where I think I passed 4 or 5 that looked like they might have been paying the price for their efforts earlier in the race. I ended up finishing 15th overall out of a field of 60 and at first was a little disappointed. I always want to do well in a mountain bike race, but I also realize that it’s impossible to do well in all races. It’s pretty rare that I have a ‘bad’ race and now that I’ve had some time to reflect, this race really wasn’t a bad result, it was more of a mediocre result, I expected to do a little better. However, as I had mentioned before, the course didn’t really suit my racing style and with that in mind, I actually had a pretty good race.
Women's winner Jenna Zander.
Men's winner Jesse Lalonde.
Mikey Phillips scored a hard earned 4th.
The bottom line. Jesse Lalonde took home another dominating win with a time of 1:38:55. TJ Woodruff brought home 2nd with a time of 1:40:22, Brian Matter finished 3rd in 1:41:21 and my bro Mikey Phillips brought home 4th with a time of 1:41:22. My 15th place time was 1:47:03. Whenever I can finish within 10 minutes of Jesse, I’m pretty happy with that. Over the past year, he’s established himself as top dog in the Midwest region and I’m just an old duffer from po-dunk Iowa racin’ for the love of racin’!
Next up is the 24 Hours of Seven Oaks and we're lookin' to defend the Rassy team title!
Thanks for reading,