Sunday, June 20, 2010

William's Lake Report

It was an amazingly hot day today! At least the storms held off but they were threatening right at the start. It was good to see 4 of my teammates show up as well. During my pre-ride I had flashbacks to the last time I rode there which was in 2006 when the race was in the series. It was good stuff and a true mtb course. I forgot how tricky some of the sections could be. There were sections where I knew people were going to bite it and they did.

Here's how my race unfolded. I started in the front row and good thing since they put 19-39 all together. After bumping elbows off the start I was in 8th but I shortly picked my way through two before getting to the big climb of the day. I knew it was four laps and HOT so I had to be careful about moderating power. I went up the first climb on my teammate Steve's wheel and picked off a few, then one more, then another, and another, until I was sitting in first half way through lap 1. Then the course started throwing in the technical aspects and the short hills and I realized I had some pretty bad shifting issues. My housing wasn't releasing the cable and causing me to not have the three rings above granny in the back. Wonderful. So with this I had to run some of the stuff since it wouldn't stay in a gear and was getting really frustrated as one went by, and the next, and so on. I did the best to hold everyone off and I had to let 5 go through and start to figure out this situation. I don't know if I went too hard or the shifting issues had me messed up but I was in a fog and starting to forget how to ride a bike. I was in a bad way for a bit there.

I made myself snap out of it and pull it together. I found out I could use the upper range of the small ring for the steep climbs and then really shift the front rings on the faster stuff. With this method I found I could ride the whole course and get a better groove on, although not as efficiently as if everything was working right for sure. So the start of the 2nd lap I at least knew my strategy for the gearing and worked that the best I could. I worked my way back up to Steve as he had the blue/yellow guy on his heels so I latched on. I rested as they pulled me into the climb and then went around to attack the climb again...hopefully feeling better this time. It worked. I crested the top but didn't see either in my rear view. So I went from 6th to 4th now. I kept strong but the b/y guy gapped back up to me and latched on hard. I couldn't shake him but lap 3 was coming up and I knew I could get him on the climb. On the little pitch leading up to the climb he started to fade back and I went hard and tried to put a nice gap on him. It worked. I never saw him again. I passed one more on lap 3 and kept it going. Lap 3 was solid and good and lap 4 I hit the climb hard again and tried to open the gap and get the 2 guys in front of me. But I never saw anyone again. So I was content with 3rd place.

It was a tough field and a good group of riders for sure. I hung out for what seemed forever to check results, and find out what the overall results were like, and I was surprised to see myself in 2nd. Thinking back I saw the leader on the side of the trail with what looked like some bad cramps. So I was really fighting for 2nd. 1st place was just under 2 minutes ahead of me. That's promising since if I had no shifting issues I would have been up there with him and possibly challenging for the win. Either way I didn't really ride well enough to win. Hell after the 1st lap I was going to be happy to finish. It was a great race and a great venue. I had forgotten how much I miss that place. Christian did a great job and it's good to see that place in such good shape.

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