Monday, May 21, 2012

Rumble in the Jungle Race Recap

Another great race was put on by Team Town Cycle and this years race loop was much more conducive to actually racing! It still had features that were technical and tough while creating much more flow and a great feel. The only trouble was it was TIGHT! If you had a spot to pass you had to pass aggressively.

Anyway as the Cat 2 race went off it was evident that the day was getting hot pretty quickly. That sun was starting to bake everyone and it felt kinda good! The start was pushed back just slightly and everyone was doing the parking lot crit just trying to stay warmed up. Finally we all rolled up to the line and got ready for the pain.

The whistle went off and it was a shoving match going around the first few corners. There were 15 pros and not sure where everyone panned out from the start but I was at the back. There were maybe two or three guys behind me. That's fine as I'd hope to start getting some back as the day went on. So on lap 1 it was so tight we all just had to stay in the train of riders flying through the smooth singletrack. I got stuck behind Johan Koserius and he was having trouble in the singletrack. He kept bobbling and clipping trees and of course as he stuttered I couldn't get around. So he started gapping us off of the group. A little while later Ken W. came through and got on Johan's wheel. We stayed in line up otter slide and at the top of Otter Johan once again bobbled and caught Ken with him and I flew by on an alternate line and drilled it hoping to open up the gap to them and catch back on the group ahead. It started to work as I stayed on the edge of control and worked every corner hard and heard a few racers up ahead.

I passed a guy I didn't recognize and thought ok maybe I'm in 10th or 11th now or something. Towards the end of the first lap I got up to Wagoner and he let me go through, I think just to use my wheel cause on the next road he flew by and stayed just in front. Through the parking lot feed on the start of lap 2 Greg and I picked up Matt Miller and the three of use were riding a pretty good clip through the twisty singletrack. After the one stream crossing on Warthog my chain decided to not want to stay on my front rings. Fumbled and tried to get going but Matt and Greg were gone. So I chased hard to get back to them. I saw them riding the top of otter slide as I was on the bottom and could see those two plus Rich W. I kept on the gas and was getting closer and closer. Then I hit some sharp rock up by tiger pen and my tire starts hissing at me. I do some random body english and eventually it seals up with probably 10 psi in it. I knew it wouldn't last long. So I rode it farther than I should and as I came up the lip after the nasty rocky crossing towards the end of the lap and I hit it with a shot of co2 and jumped back on. Now no one in sight in front or behind. I wasted all that energy chasing on just to deal with a flat...bummer.

So in an effort to keep the guys behind from coming up I got back into the groove and drilled it once again. This lap I was cooking. Lap 1 was ok since I was in traffic, lap 2 was slower with the dropped chain issue and the flat but the tire was holding and I cranked lap 3 hard. I felt the groove and was drifting through the turns and really making the momentum work in my favor. I got back to otter slide and saw the same thing...the guys a little further ahead but still reachable. I rode smooth and strong and saw them getting closer and closer. I eventually rode onto Rich W's wheel and he was having a hard day with the tight trees. I passed him and kept on the gas and kept it smooth. I figured he dropped off of Greg and Matt's wheel so those two would be much farther ahead. I put down anything I could to gap Rich and see if I could get closer to the other two but to no avail. I crossed the line and learned that Greg was 20 secs ahead and Matt was 40 seconds ahead! If only I didn't have those few little issues and maybe one more lap!

Either was I was excited to have ridden well and gave the new Lynskey a proper initiation on the trails of JH. I figured I was maybe 9th or 10th and I was really excited to see I got 8th! Sweet! That's my best pro finish yet!

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