The Weaverville super-d is one of the last true mountain bike races. The only difference is instead of getting an ounce of weed for winning, you get a little medal still wrapped in cellophane, and a pat on the back. This year was as no different and as haphazard as old days; there were 5 too many people for the shuttle, the “timing guy” got stuck at the bottom, and the timing computer was run off of a car battery with an inverter duct aped to the top. By the time we 5 got to the top of the race most racers were down, just a hand full left. I got a start one minute behind Chuck Ross (former coach and current carrot). It was great, we started out on a gnarly loose rutted fireroadish downhill that had my bike bouncing all over! There was a sharp left turn at the bottom of the hill, but I was too excited about navigating the ruts on the road that I neglected to turn and went right on by. it wasn’t until i saw the big x in the road that I looked left and saw the trail with some dust in the air from the previous rider. Quickly I dismounted and returned to the correct section of sick single track where I was to spend the next 18 minutes hoping that Chris T wasn’t making up time, and that racers that my competition did not have to pass let everyone by without making them wait too long, all while totally cross eyed anaerobic. Most of these scenario’s happened flawlessly, and others, well, the word cluster comes to mind. When it was all said and done Chuck (Carrot) and I passed 5 riders, and managed to win both of our classes. It was time to go unwrap the cellophane, and open that beer with just a little bit bigger grin than anyone there.
Month: May 2009
Well this race will definitely be talked about for ages. What can I say about So No Mas? Just kidding sorry to start out sounding so negative. This race rocked! I am really bummbed out for Carlos the promoter who spent countless hours thinking up and organizing this event only to be undermined by some freaking trail marker sabatour (equestrian?)! This is how it went down.
The race started out @ 9 am. it was already warm and we did two short laps above the parking lot to thin out the group. We got the line up and headed out for our first long 30 mile lap. Glen Fant led me, Barry Wicks and Matt (sorry matt I don’t know your last name but your fast and you live in arcata). We rode for about 8 miles and glen dropped his seat bag he caught back up and then something else happened because that was the last we saw of him for a while. matt took the lead and I sat in behind barry. We cruised for a while. Then during a routine water crossing Barry launched his attack. I jumped up around matt who had just been passed by barry and we took off. I looked back once and matt was gone. Barry held his pace and with a heart rate of 175 I decided there wasn’t anyway I could hold this pace for another 48 miles and 9000 feet of climbing especially with the heat of the day rising! I yelled to Barry “why do you want to hurt me Barry?!” he kind of laughed and rode on. I turned on my ipod which was set to pennywise and rode on. I climbed descended and climbed some more. The course was killer! I hit the exposed climb on the north side of liberty glenn and powered on I was feeling great! I had been planning out this race for some time and was prepared even though I didn’t know the course. I was very happy with the pace I was riding and felt like a super hero, too bad there were no buildings out there I could leap in a single bound to test out my super hero theory! oh well, I needed to stay focused anyway. I made it out of liberty glenn and crossed to road stopped at the feed zone grabbed some water and moved on. I rode until the trail dead ended I circled around the water tower and rode back to the feed zone asked the volunteer what I had missed and where the trail went he had no clue I rode back to the water tower and then back to the feed zone. I saw a trail down to the left but it didn’t look like it had been ridden. It wasn’t marked and it had a fat spiderweb across it. I rode back to the tower once more and on the way back to the feed I saw matt coming up. We decided to go down the spiderweb trail. We descended and descended and descended all the way to the lake where the trail dead ended again. matt and I talked and I was really bummed because by no barry was long gone. About 4 min later look who it is Barry! We all ask each other what any lost racer asks them self. WHAT THE F&*k! Just then maybe another 2-3 min later Glenn rolls up and asks the question of the day really loud. I walk down to the water and asked a cowboy for some directions. He said we needed to head all the way back to the top and there was a trail to left just before the top. His directions were much longer than this and included many unclear landmarks like moss and trees that looked like mystical creatures. The four of us started our long and pissed off climb back up wen all of a sudden Shane rolled down. Shane joined the group and we climbed. Then another racer came down on our way up. We started to build up our numbers as we climbed our numbers grew we were up to about 12 or 14 people. I looked back and felt like Forrest Gump. I just felt like ridinnngggg.(needs to be read with a slow southern drawl) Maureen I bet you’ll get it on the first try! Any way this is getting way too long. Everyone rode up to the feed zone got water and rode the pavement back cause no one could decide on the real course. We all got back the the start parking lot and stopped while no one was looking I jumped on my bike sprinted through the start finish cupped my hands together and shook them over my head to fake an amazing win! No one got my picture and there were no podium girls or champagne or any autographing, but it was a sweet race while it lasted and I am definitely doing it next year and you should too. I will be imagining what it will be like to finish this race for the next year. The course was mainly single track it got up to 102 degrees that day and the only one to complete one full lap was Amon Pease and Pete the singlespeeder who took a random turnoff and ended up finding the course markers again and completed one full one. They should probably be the real winners but since I had already fake won well before they got back (cause they did the whole thing) That title was already taken. THE END!
This weekend several of us headed up to Matt’s neck of the woods for the Ashland Spring Thaw. Emma, Geoff, and Maureen joined Matt for the XC race on Saturday.
Here is Maureen’s XC race report:
I knew very little about the course today–I heard there was a long climb, a flattish section at the top, and a long singletrack descent. At the starting line I lamented that I didn’t know more about the starting climb.
The men and women started together, which meant the pace would be high. From the gun I went all-out, following a bunch of guys and taking the early lead for the women. The course started with a paved road and quickly turned to massively-wide, beautifully-groomed fire road with a very gentle grade (but we were definitely going up!). I played some roadie games, working on my wheel-sucking (definitely a tactic that I generally loathe). After 25 minutes of pushing myself, a train of 3 women came up beside me. I jumped aboard and felt fairly comfortable holding their pace.The leader of the train, Amber from Reno, was climbing like a beast! She led the entire climb and seemed content to hold her blistering pace for days. She casually accelerated a few times, and dropped us all for a bit. I played yet more roadie games, using a guy’s passing wheel as a bridge back to her. It worked, but I was feeling a little unsure if I would be able to hold the pace, which had elevated my heartrate up to a scary 190 bpm. The climbing continued as the route turned into a fun singletrack that had several steep pitches. Amber was STILL killing it, and I was barely holding on. Finally we saw some officials on the trail, which meant we had reached the top of the climb! Hurray, I thought.
But to my dismay, the roadie-ness continued as a big group of guys convened at the top of the climb. Amber joined the fray and they all started motoring on the flattish road that was so nicely maintained I can’t call it a fire road. I tried to stay with them, but I couldn’t quite bridge the gap because my HR had reached 192 and I thought I was going to implode. I was bummed when they sped away, leaving me in no-man’s land to ride with only my own two legs. I didn’t want to get caught by the #3 woman! Eventually someone came up behind me and said “Hey Mo, do you have a GU??” It was Geoff to the rescue! I saved him with a GU, and got on his wheel. He was leading the singlespeed race. He rode impressively fast for only having one gear. I took a few pulls but Geoff did the lion’s share of the work–he is my hero. It was really fun to have a teammate out there to work with on the endless road from hell.
After 45 mintues on this road, we FINALLY hit the descent. FINALLY we hit some singletrack, some actual mountain biking! We descended a beautiful trail on a steep, forested hillside. About 1/2 mile into the 6-mile descent I caught Amber!! I couldn’t believe it. She let me by and I worked to keep my head together as I descended this trail for the first time. Geoff knew the trail very well; I followed him until we hit the lower part that had a lot of jumps and rutted switchbacks…we were now on the downhill course. I slowed down a bit since I haven’t yet mastered the jumping thing. But I safely made it through to the bottom and rolled in for 1st place in the Women’s Overall!! It was a dramatic finale to an epic fitness test!
Geoff took 1st in the singlespeed division, Emma got 9th overall, and Matt got 14th in Pro Men.
Sea Otter 2009
This years Sea Otter was a big deal for me because I missed 07 and 08. I based my training this last winter specifically to do well at Sea Otter. My wife Anna, and my good friend (a strong NORBA pro) joined me for four days of fun in the sun in Monterey. We arrived in Monterey late Thursday night and got a good night sleep to prepare for the weekend. Steve and I pre-rode the course on Friday and we were both very happy that we would be racing in dry conditions this year. The dry course this year was in stark contrast to the “Sea Slaughter” that I participated in, in 2006. Anyone who participated in that race knows that it was one of the wettest and muddiest races ever. Saturday was short track day. Anna and I excitedly watched our friends and teammates go against some of the best riders in the biz. Anyone who competes in short track racing knows that the Sea Otter short track is on of the most competitive of the year. The race was fun to watch but also frustrating to watch because my friend Steve and fellow Lost Coast teammate Brian Astell were both pulled within the first 15 minutes. Neither rider was pulled for lack of effort (I watch both riders move up every lap) but it’s hard to pass 75 plus riders in a time span of about 10 minutes. Next year look for the team Lost Coast riders to be at the front of the pack after call-ups!
Sunday, race day…
I awoke early on Sunday in preparation for my 8 a.m. start time. I had been very relaxed all weekend but got a small case of butterflies as I ate my oatmeal. Our hotel was fairly close to the raceway and I got a perfect 40-minute warm-up ride to the start/finish line. I believe the field size was about 30 riders. The race started fast with team Cycle Path putting all five riders at the front. As we spun wildly down the smooth pavement of the raceway I moved into sixth place. I worked my way into third place by the end of the first lap and and kept a close watch on 2nd place. Conrad Snover of team Cycle path led the entire race and eventually finished six minutes ahead of 2nd and 3rd places. A very impressive ride indeed. I felt strong the entire race but the heat started taking its toll halfway thru the second lap. Even though I consumed 5 bottles during the race I started to have leg cramps at mile 25. At this point I had a firm grasp on second place, but couldn’t put anymore then 70% effort in the pedals as anything more would cause my legs to cramp. I eased up a bit and pushed on in hopes of securing one of the top spots on the podium. As I climbed the last two miles back to the finish I was caught and passed by another rider. I tried hard to keep his wheel but the legs were having nothing of it! I finished the race in 3rd, 10 seconds behind 2nd place. I was very happy with my result and the feeling of standing on the podium after the race was fantastic. I accomplished both the goals that I had set for Sea Otter, which were 1. Podium finish and 2. Break three hours for the 38-mile course (2:51).
I really want to thank Mark and Pete at Marin for all of their support. Congratulations to Maureen for her 5th place in the pro women’s Super D and a solid finish in the long course, congratulations to Emma and Matt for battling through their first Sea Otter XC pro races and finishing strong. I want to give special recognition to Brian as he raced his heart out in the long course. Look for this guy to be in the top 20 next year without a doubt! And last but definitely not least I want to give props to Amon for battling with the big boys and smiling the whole time in the sweltering heat. Anyone who has ridden with Amon knows that he is one of the most talented riders around. Thanks again to Marin and WTB for their support of the team. Look for Team Lost Coast riders this summer at a podium near you!
Cheers…long live, long rides…
P.S. We all missed Tsering at Sea Otter as he was taking care on the home front. Sometimes work takes precedence over play…Oh the life of the working professional.