Friday, May 27, 2011
Platte River and Waverly
You have to figure that at some point, my age is going to catch up with me. Especially when I get the crazy idea of doing two mountain bike races in one weekend. The first race of the weekend was the Psycowpath Series race at Platte River. Last years race was cancelled due to rain, so Julie and I were especially looking forward to this race. The course at Platte River epitomizes mountain biking in the Midwest region, smooth, rolling singletrack, definitely one of the more fun places to race and ride.
As I was warming up, I overheard somebody say Le Mans style start. I’m not a big fan of Le Mans starts, I love to ride my bike, but I don’t care much for running. Whenever I run, my old body threatens to blow something out. So the race started, I got to my bike without any blowouts and took off after the leaders. About 50 yards into the race, I had a snap decision to make, plow into the photographer that was sitting too close to the course, or veer to the right of the photographer with the hope that he doesn’t try to move out of the way. Right before I went around the guy, he saw me coming, started to stand and back up. I slammed into him and went sprawling over my handlebars. I quickly got up, picked up my bike, looked in the direction of the guy and said something to him. I don’t remember what I said as I was a little delirious from the red line effort that typically ensues at the start of a race. Whatever it was that I said, I’m sure that it wasn’t very complimentary. I hope that I didn’t offend whoever it was, and I hope that I didn’t hurt the guy.
So I ended up near the end of the field and found myself in chase mode, which is the exact opposite of what I was hoping for. It was going to take a lot more effort to catch the leaders, then if I were to have started with them. I pretty much killed myself going up the hill, trying to pass as many peeps as I could before we hit the singletrack. I had no idea what place I was in by the time I hit the top of the first climb and I was well into the red zone. So I settled in behind the guy in front of me and tried to recover a little.
I kind of knew who the leaders would be, Kent, Steve, MOD and Shim. As I rolled into some of the open areas of the course, I was able to pass one or two guys each time. At some point during the third lap, I finally caught sight of Kent, Shim and MOD, riding together. I upped the effort a little more and reeled in MOD. Shortly after I caught him, I burped the front tire. I tried to live with it, but it was too soft and I could feel the front wheel starting to wash out in the corners. So I pulled over and gave it a shot of Co2. I remounted and eventually caught back up to MOD before the end of lap three.
I could see Kent and Shim up ahead, and it looked like Shim was starting to put a small gap between he and Kent. By the time I had caught up to Kent, Shim was starting to fade from view. I rode behind Kent, anxiously waiting for the first opportunity to pass. As we were flying down one of the faster parts of the course, I took the ‘inside line’ going into a slow corner and made a pass that I normally wouldn’t have tried. However I wanted to get by as quickly as possible so I could get after Shim.
At some point before the rock garden, I finally caught up to Shim. I sat on his wheel for a short while and started working on a plan to get by and hopefully leave him behind. I passed him in the upper meadow section and he grabbed my wheel. As we were rolling through the roller coaster section of the course, I heard his chain jam and that was pretty much it. I rode away and once I felt secure with the lead, I put it into energy conservation mode with the hope of saving what little energy I had left for tomorrow’s race.
As I was rolling through the rock garden, I took a quick look back and saw Kent closing in on me. I screwed up the short climb out of the rock garden and had to jump off and run. I hit the top, remounted my stead and red lined it all of the way to the finish. I held on for the win and once again had surprised myself as I wasn’t necessarily expecting to after the debacle at the start.
Julie had her first clash with Rox and didn’t fare as well as she’d hoped. Rox has been riding and racing for long time, and she doesn’t get beaten very often, especially in Nebraska. Regardless, Julie had a blast on some of the sweetest singletrack that the Midwest has to offer, and that’s all that really matters!
Day two consisted of racing on more of some of the sweetest singletrack that the Midwest has to offer. Camp Ingawanis is another one of my favorites that I always look forward to. We woke up on Sunday morning, took a look at the radar and it didn’t look good. A large clump of rain clouds were heading east and the southern tip was heading straights towards Ingawanis. We decided to make the trip anyway with the hope of getting one or two laps in before the rain hit. My days if racing in mud bogs ended a couple of years ago, so if the rain hit, the plug was getting pulled.
I got in about a lap and a half before the start, when it started to sprinkle ever so lightly. The race started and everybody seemed to be willing to concede the hole shot to me…until Aaron R snaked me going into the singletrack. Somebody else tried to get around, but I wasn’t having any of it. It ended up being Aaron, myself and Brian Furhmann that had gapped off the rest of the field shortly after the start. As soon as we hit the first descent, followed quickly by a long, fast, flowy section of singletrack, the perma grin found its way to my face despite the pain of the racing effort. When we hit the rock garden, I took a bad line and dumped it. Brian got around me and both he and Aaron took off. I subconsciously took a quick look around to make sure that nobody saw what had happened (my inner pride), jumped back on my back and high tailed it after Aaron and Brian.
As I rolled through the start / finish line, I saw Brian standing on the side of the trail with his spare tube wrapped around one hand, draping off of one of his ears and around his saddle…he must have flatted. I kept the pressure on, hoping to reel in Aaron sooner than later. At some point during lap three, I had almost completely closed the gap, maybe within a couple of seconds. Shortly thereafter I was beginning to feel the effects of the previous days’ efforts. The last lap quickly transitioned into survival mode as my legs had reached their point of expiration. Aaron rode a great race and took home a much deserved win. I held on for second and my former apprentice, Padawan Gammell came in third.
Julie had a pretty good day, she got throttled by Robin Williams, however she did finish ahead of Sally Logan. They have a friendly rivalry going on, fun to watch, especially when Julie finishes ahead of her!
Thanks for reading,