Tuesday, May 21, 2013

H2H #3 Rumble in the Jungle

I had a fun day this past Sunday. I woke up to a slightly warm yet foggy rainy day and checked the weather to see that it would be a 0% chance of rain all day. Sweet! I figured the fog would burn off, and conditions would be slick but doable and it would be a cool race day. That was not to be the case. It rained, not very hard but steady. And it rained some more. I gave in to the fact that it was going to be a struggle through the slop but I know I can ride very well in the mud so what the hell. Here we go.

I hit the start hard and got in 3rd wheel and my teammate Shernce was raring to go so I let him slip through and followed him through the first section of warthog with the leaders just ahead. Shernce suddenly dropped his chain and had to stop so I kept going with Fast Eddie not far behind. I let him go just before Otter Slide and he was gone quickly. So I was now sitting 4th and through the rest of the first lap Gered from VT and Joe Petrarca came up from behind and I had to let Gered go through as he was moving fast. From a chat with him as we prerode earlier, Gered said he got 7th at Hop Brook so I knew he was solid. Anyway so now sitting in 5th and it was just Joe and I. We stayed together for the first lap and started the second together but he was just riding the slop better. I let him go figuring I would use him and try to shed him on the 3rd lap. That wasn't the case.

I just couldn't dig that deep for some reason and that extra gear was not there. On top of that I made a few mistakes following Joe and the gap opened. So I stayed steady in 6th and figured I'd try to reel him in on the last lap. At the top of the climb on the last lap I see Ben W walking backwards on the course not looking good - turns out he separated his shoulder. I asked him if he was ok but he wasn't. He had people with him so I kept on. I rode hard but Joe was riding just as well. I caught a glimpse of Joe and I was closing the gap but I think he had about a minute on me at the end. It was a hard day in those trails. It was a greasy, slimy mess but was tons of fun. It made for a hard race but all the more fun. I was happy to keep it upright and have a solid finish. 5th of 9 starters. Good day considering what the meteoroligists called a 0% chance of showers

Monday, May 13, 2013

H2H #2 Wawayanda Spring Cleaning

It was a fun race last weekend. Probably lots of people with some nice sunburn/color like myself today from an amazing day. I don't think Wawayanda has EVER been that dry. It was dusty and powdery in sections. I had a decent day. I didn't feel super but I didn't feel horrible. Well I did a little from the start. As expected we took off down the gravel road for the start and made the right onto the waway entrance road and eyes were bleeding already. Strung out single file we made our way into the singletrack and my legs just didn't want to go. I drifted backwards and just hung in there hoping my legs would get better. I kept people in sight but it was just hard to get going. It didn't help that the race went off 20 minutes late letting everyone's legs get cold again.

So anyway I kept on my pace and one by one started to either reel people in or pass people with mechanicals. First Szymon was having difficulties, then Rich W with a flat, then a few others with issues, then past Ilya, and worked my way up to Joe P. By the end of lap 1 I put in a good effort to close on sitting bear and I past Joe on the downhill to the start/finish and started lap 2 feeling better and wishing there were 5 more to go. So as I pass Joe he tells me Lombardo is just ahead so he is my new target. I tracked him down and he said he was going to try and hold my wheel, but I didn't want that. So I put in a hard effort and shed him. By Jim's bridge I was opening up a nice gap but then I ran into a walker on the bridge that wouldn't run and wouldn't clear the path. I had to slowly roll behind him as he was walking on the bridge and then dismount and run around him. This was perfect for Joe as he closed the gap as I was waiting for this guy to move. So with Joe hot on my heels I put down a good pace and just tried to keep him behind me. I got back to him in sitting bear so that's where the race was. Keep him behind and then open it up in sitting bear.

Through the new stuff I could hear Joe behind, and not very far behind so he was riding very well. He's never one I'll take lightly as he can be very fast when he decided to throw down. We got to the rock choke in the trees and I fumbled and I hear Joe yell from behind, "I saw that, I'm coming!" so I messed that up and I bobbled on another section just after that letting Joe get right behind me again. But as I know that trail very well, I hit each of the remaining hills hard and kept the rocky stuff as smooth as possible and crossed the line around 30 seconds ahead of him. It was great having someone so close as it motivated me to keep pushing and was really a lot of fun.

I finished 9th of 17 starters and put in a decent effort with a full extra big lap at the end to extend my day and use it for my training goals. I finished in the money on a beautiful day so I'm pretty happy. When I look at results too the other characters that I'm usually behind were only 3 minutes ahead so I'll take that margin. Let's just forget about Seamus and Christian that were 10 minutes ahead...and Seamus on a full suspension SS. Really.