Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blue Mountain Chainstretcher Recap

After preriding the Thursday before in the rain and slop I wasn't quite sure how good the conditions would be on race day. The days preceeding the race the weather was clear but cool. So I figured the course would be a bit slick but in much better shape than on my preride. I was pretty much right on with the conditions and my course inspection the day of confirmed this. I was ready to roll. I didn't know if my legs would show up but it is my favorite course of the H2H calendar so I hoped they would.

I lined up with 7 of us total - so a small field but some strong competitors. Off the line I sit in about 4th or 5th as I see BL and Greg up the road and I get a stick stuck in my back wheel. Not just any stick, one that was literally 20 feet long. It was basically a tree that was on the side of the trail that a racer in front of me turned and jammed into my wheel stopping me instantly. It took a bit to get it untangled, check out my gear, put my chain back on and get going again. Wonderful, 1/4 mile into the race and I'm starting dead last with a 30 second defeceit. Yippee...

So I kept on and worked my way up to one guy who blocked me a few times and made me unhappy. So I passed him and fell on the ground shortly after...awesome. I rode pretty sloppily trying to get back into the groove and then I passed another. Ok this is getting better. Still fumbling through the normally good techy stuff I started pulling it together little by little. Continuing on I started lap 2 and I got into search and destroy mode. I rode everything smoothly and I had that fire again...YES! This was severely missing for the last two races(not good for a 100 miler and a 50 miler). I put the hammer down and started to see John and BL ahead of me in the twisties and knew I could get to them in the singletrack. I rode up on John and BL as they weren't far apart. I rode on Johns wheel and then got around and looked back as he couldn't hold the pace. So now it was BL and me to set the pace.

BL let me by in the singletrack as I had the groove going but as soon as we got to the fire roads he would hit that high HP and blast right by. Then I'd gap back to him in the singletrack and do it all over again. It was great riding so close to a teammate and pulling away from the competition behind. So we kept this up and at the start of lap 3 BL pulled away on the fire road and as I was trying to close the gap to him I took a hard fall. Sliced open my elbow and bashed my hip pretty good. I had to put my chain back on again, regain my composure, and start cranking hard. I did find the groove later but by that time the course was quickly coming to an end.

I finished 4th of 7, 1:30 behind BL, and it was a great day. Felt pretty good and had some fun doing some dirt surfing. It was a great race and the food afterwards at the Peekskill Brewery was awesome! It was a good result for how I felt and for the few mistakes I made. I put it all out there as I did have some cramping sneaking in for part of the 3rd lap. If things go smoother next time I hope to climb a little higher in the ranks. Hopefully for the next MTB race, the H2H #8 at Wawayanda, there will be more competitors and more fun.

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