Friday, September 18, 2009

Race Report or "how to attempt to sabotage your own race"

Joe, Javid and I keeping the race moving along.
photo from

I haven't done much pedal bike racing this year. PMBAR, a SERC event at my local trails and the BMW River Gorge Omnium (Road Race, Time Trial and Criterium).

The interested reader can scroll down and read about our epic day of riding in Pisgah during the PMBAR event.
My friend and now pro mountain bike racer James Williams came into town for a visit and urged me to race the SERC event at Raccoon Mountain. I did my best to sabotage my own race by 1. racing in the single speed class, 2. changing my 20t cog for a 19t cog before the race 3. converting my tires to tubeless the night before the race. 4. drinkin' brews
None of these efforts resulted in a mechanical allowing me to leave the 96 degree F race course for some shade, water and more brews. I finished the race in 10th place. I think it took about 3 hours of solid water consumption before I could pee and probably a good week to get re-hydrated again.
I continued NOT training by sleeping late, staying up late, working on my house and drinking throughout the rest of the season.

As the River Gorge event crept up on me, I tried to increase my riding but it was really to late to accomplish anything other than to convince myself I could at least ride the race course without having to stop for a break. The Grubbs brothers, Corey Hall and I went for a ride on the course. We pounded out the first 2/3 rds fast, when we hit the stair step I fell off the back. This was enough to realize I need to upgrade my fitness. After resisting as best I could, using my poor performance as an excuse, Javid and Joe got me to sign up with promises to pull me the whole way to the base of the big climb up Racoon Mountain. Instead we were at the front of the race, driving the pace some and making poor attempts to attack on the flats. Big bad Randy was even going to pull us through the flats but I never saw him again until the Crit on Sunday.
At the start of the final climb I got out front and held as long as I could, finally a group of 10 passed me and slowly widened the gap between me and them. At the second to last steep pitch I picked off a rider. Joe caught up with me on the short down hill but I was able to accelerate past him up the last pitch to the finish for 9th. The time trial started about 4 hours later, we had some time to relax. The brothers Grubbs and I went back to my house to eat pizza, drink some beer and watch Army of Darkness, the third movie in the Evil Dead series. I think I read somewhere that this was the proper way to prepare for a time trial.
After we finished our beers we headed back up to the mountain for the time trial. I was the first one off. My legs felt weary from the road race and I thought it would have been nice to have a TT bike to allow me to utilize some different muscles, but it also gave me strong sense of pride to be one of the few racing cannibal style. Just as I started a storm was starting to roll in, there were some good winds in front of the storm as rolled in. I like to think that being slower than last years time was a result of the winds but it could have been the Evil Dead or maybe the beer. I missed 10th place by about 1 second. Joe was wearing his funny helmet as he passed his 30 second man, Javid, for second place.
Sunday morning was the criterium race. It was mine and Javid's first race of this kind. I was concerned that some sketchy bike handling CAT 5 racer was going to take me out, but for the most part everyone raced smooth. There were a few fresh legs out there, mostly Team Krystal riders who looked like they weren't the type that would have enjoyed the climbing on the road course. The pace was good, throughout. They had enough primes to keep the sprints going. Joe won at least two of them. I got out in the front after one of the primes because the pace was slowing too much and pulled the group around . I think Randy got away with 1 or 2 laps to go and Team Krystal slowed the pace down effectivly blocking, I didn't even realize he was away. I was caught up in the middle of the pack. I should have been up front for the last 3 laps, then I may have been able to do something. I came in with the pack and sprinted for 9th place, almost being taken at the line but was just able to hold the other rider off.