Sunday, April 21, 2013

H2H #1 Blue Mountain Chainstretcher

This race is always one of my favorites. The amount of rock and techy goodness there really keeps me entertained. I often have to hold back from hitting drops and other features I normally like to play on in an effort just to go fast. Sometimes it's more fun to play. Anyway I rolled up there early to see the sports go off and to see how the conditions were and as I was thinking, it was going to be fast and dry.

I did my warmup, got ready and got to the line early not knowing what to think. There's so much less room for error than my normal endurance races and I just felt scattered. Probably with the fact that I couldn't find my co2 inflators and had to carry a bulky hand pump made me extra confident...not. Anyway I was in for the workout. I wanted to see how I would stack up and feeling ok it would be a good test of the legs and equipment.

The race director says go and we're off. I hit it hard and somehow grab 2nd wheel into the first uphill. Unfortunately right off the batt I forgot to unlock my lockout so I was thrown off my line and into a bunch of stuff that I didn't want to be in. I popped off my lockout and shifted and tried to regain the position I had. So with that I went from second wheel to 5th wheel. I was ok with that.

Through the first lap I had the Cannondale guy and Rich W in my sights and was hanging with them just a little ways back. I know blue pretty well and at that point I knew I needed more time to warm up. I was hoping later in the race they may fall back and I could benefit and gain some positions. That strategy went out the window when my front tire went soft. I rode it for a little bit and then knew I had to pull over and pump it up. Yes pump it up. That archaeic old pump I carrie actually was put to use. I jumped off, threw the pump on it, cheered on John and Ross as they passed begrudgingly, popped the pump back in my pocket and took off.

Within 2 miles I had worked my way back through John and then passed Ross. I was feeling pretty good and kept looking for the colors of the racers ahead. There was another problem though...the pumped up tire was still not holding air. I could feel it was deflating. In each turn it tracked wrong and felt it getting soft every time I placed the front down over a log. Crap... I didn't want to pull over again.

I kept going on the second lap just being cautious and it was soft but holding. I was still holding my gap to Ross behind and didn't see anyone ahead. I just told myself to ride smoothly to preserve the tire and go fast. I seemed to do just that. It had enough pressure to keep me upright while still being a bit too squishy. I rolled across the finishe line with my tire at about 10 psi and holding onto that 4th spot. I was in 5th but one of the racers ahead had to stop to fix his flat so I gained another position right there. This was great! I was happy with 5th, but 4th? I'll take it! Super stoked and feeling good I wish we had to race a few more laps - well that is if I could have had a non-deflating tire.

Thanks go out to the Blue crew for putting together a great race and using some superb trails. It was a bit of a chilly day, but the crowd was good and there was a lot of great racing going on in the hills of Peeskill yesterday.

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