Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seven Oaks

Somebody had tacos for lunch even though it’s not taco Tuesday.

We’ve had some pretty strange weather throughout the week leading up to last weekend. I’d look out of the window of my office and see a beautiful, mostly sunny sky. Fifteen minutes later I would hear a torrential downpour beating down on the metal roof of our building. I’d look out the window, see partially blue sky with rain beating against my window. I could feel a slight bit of frustration building within me as it looked like all of the rain would dampen everybody’s enthusiasm for racing at Seven Oaks. It’s no secret that racing in the mud at Seven Oaks isn’t a whole lot of fun, unless you enjoy riding your bike through peanut butter.
Julie and I decided to check the course out the day before the race and it was more or less what I had expected as the Boone area didn’t receive as much rain as Des Moines. The first lap had quite a few greasy spots and a couple of mud puddles to ride through. Seven Oaks is arguably the most technical mountain bike trail in Iowa, so I rode the first lap with Julie to show her the lines. She bailed after one lap and I went out for a second lap at close to race pace. The trail had dried considerably and most of the grease had turned to damp and tacky. After that, I knew the course would be close to perfect for the race.
We woke up the next day to a beautiful, cloudless day and race time temps were in the upper 70’s. We lined up for the start, Ron said go and I took the lead going into the singletrack with Padawan Gammell firmly attached to my wheel. I had no idea what the order was behind the young Padawan. Normally, I would use the Force to figure that out, however I needed to devote all of my attention to the tread. Any lapse in focus will most likely result in a tuck ‘n roll down a steep hill or doing the tango with a tree. I’ve done both here before and it’s not as fun as it sounds.
After about a half a lap, I could tell that Jed was beginning to sag a little, so I kept the pressure on until I could no longer see him where the course doubled back on itself. After that I settled into my own comfortable pace and was able to clip off all three laps at pretty close to the same 35+ minute per lap pace. After shaking Jed, the remainder of the race was pretty uneventful. I started picking up lapped traffic from the Cat 2 race about midway through my second lap and had no trouble getting by as they all made plenty of room for me. I passed Julie on one of the many tricky switchbacks and it looked as though she was leading the Category 2 women’s race.

I rode my bike over a large piece of stick.

Kevin jumped his bike over a large piece of stick.

I ended up with another win, followed by Padawan Gammell, who’s having a pretty good season despite minimal racing. Kevin McConnell brought home third, followed closely by Aaron Robinett. Ben Shockey rounded out the top five. Julie also had another stellar race brining home the win in the women’s Category 2 race. On a course where there are an endless amount of good opportunities to hit the deck, she only kissed the dirt once. Thankfully there was little to no damage to her or the Goose.
Things came together nicely for this race and there are a few folks that need to be recognized for stepping up big time to make it another successful event. Ron DeGeest is pretty much a one man wrecking crew for Singletrack Promotions this year. With a little help from a few friends, he was able to get a lot of the trail at Seven Oaks into race ready condition. The trails at Seven Oaks require more work than most other places, so a big thank you to Singletrack Promotions. WWJ (Jay Chesterman) supplied several cases of Chippewa Springs Water, Jason’s Deli provided several free gift cards and Greg Rasmussen of Rasmussen Bike Shop provided most of the awards that were given away. All of these generous folks that support our great sport of mountain bike racing are very deserving of your patronage, so please show all of them your appreciation by giving them your business. And lastly, to all 68 of the people that came out and had a great time on their mountain bikes! I think this might have been the best turn out for a cross country race at Seven Oaks!

Kevin and Aaron were gangin' up on me after the race and threatened to break my knees if I ever beat them again.

Next up is the rain date for the Psycowpath race at Maskenthine. Kevin Limpach did a number on me at the last Psycowpath race, so I’ll be looking for a little redemption this time around!

Thanks for reading,



Iowagriz said...

35min a lap! I was giving Jed a hard time about you two cutting the course through the campgrounds. It's the only explaination.....and then I see your picture from Angy. Damn tree trunks pounding the pedals.

KEV said...

I've did my recon last weekend! Got me some new parts on the bike and hopfully I can at least make it fun for a few laps. Nice job at 7-oaks, that place is tough. No Kent, but I think Steve and Shim are coming and hopfully Jesse and Nate.