Monday, June 6, 2011

Domnarski Farm MTB Race Report

For the second time this year I decided I need to GET RAD and thus did a mountain bike race, it was out in Central Mass at a farm, I was excited. Dr. PVB and I got a ride to the race from Joshua Robot, which meant I was going to get some Old Man Power from them (combined racing age over 60) on the way to the race, right?

Finally arrive at the race, register, catch up with Uri, who was the top nemesis for the day, as he was the only person I knew in the Cat 2 19-29 race, and was my only competition in the 2012 Hebrew Cup, I tried to psyche him out with my 2.2" wide tires, he had 29" wheels and awkwardness on his side. Then I changed, and said hi to more mountain bike friends that I hadn't seen in months, and remembered it was time to race bikes. Oh, I forgot to warm up, this is no big deal.

I got a front row start, because I race cyclocross and I know that is important for positioning. After the whistle blew I rode not terribly hard in third wheel down the 50 feet of fire road before the first technical section and managed to stay upright and boom, I had won the holeshot, because that is what I do.

And then I just pedaled, not terribly hard, because mountain bike racing is an endurance event, and I was "saving my energy" for the later part of the race. Little did I know that the race started by going up hill for a mile. After about 5 minutes of off the front glory I got passed by a guy from my race like I was standing still, and then a minute or two later by another guy. Ok, 3rd place, I can hang out here right?

Well, no, because after the long climb there was a really long section of fire road where I needed to pedal hard, and for those of you who don't know me I am not very good at that. But I tried (sort of) and I entered the next single track section solo with the hopes that 4th place (and Uri) were far behind me, they weren't.

Soon, I was going uphill again, and I saw Uri behind me and we enter another section of fire road, CRAP. Now I really have to pedal hard. But there was nothing I could do and I was caught by Uri and his big wheels, he passed me, and then crashed. After that, I passed him again, he caught me and then I got a stick stuck in my rear derailleur and then Uri didn't want to wait for me to take it out because he is a jerk.

I fix my bike, start pedalling, and I officially have no idea where I am on the 10 mile course, or what position I'm in and I start with the "I WANT THIS TO BE OVER" thoughts. Then there was more climbing, it was not fun, especially with my 36 tooth single ring up front, I couldn't spin up anything, which meant pedaling hard. I yelled to my legs "MOVE FASTER" to which they replied "uh... no." This was most apparent in the powerlines section of the course which had 2 super steep climbs exposed in the sun, and then a technical super tight climbs in the woods when I was passed by a dude I recognized from the start line.

Eventually, 7 miles in I got to the top of the course and started going down hill, which was great. Like much of the course it was a mix of techinical single track and fast fire roads that had berms and rocks, making it super awesome, I was having fun again. This is when I remembered why people are scared of mountain bike racing, because hitting a tree or rock at these speeds would suck.

Anyhow, after 3 miles of awesome descending (with a soul crushing steep climb in there just for good measure) the race was over.

After washing my bike and putzing around for a while I learned that Uri got 3rd place and I rolled in a few minutes later for 6th of 17 finishers.

I was displeased for a minute because I really wanted a top 5 finish, but the course was fantastic, the weather was great, and I had a good time. Gosh, mountain bike racing is fun!