Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sea Otter Classic - XC Race Report

Sea Otter Classic. Results are here. I have so much to say about this race... no pics of me crankin' the mud, but have a good one of thomas down below...

Thom Parsons picked me up Friday, met-up w/his buddies and cruised down to Santa Cruz where we crashed. awesome drive through the mtns to santa cruz, why do i live back east!? Hung-out on Sat in Monterey, watched some downhill, i geeked-out on tire selection, bought a kenda kharma 1.95 for the rear, stayed with the racin' ralph 2.1 for the front... it worked-out great - and am so stoked i got the narrow kharma, as that really helped climbing out of the saddle in the mud - something i'd end-up doing for most of the race. ate lots of good food over the wknd, got the fuel in the system, had a lot of laughs with the solid crew we'd assembled, went to a kinda lame Kona party (but the beer wasn't, damn tasty - only had one!), got some zzz's, time to finally get our race on!

Sunday, race day. Cloudy, 60 degrees, light rain, lots o' mud, but also lots of open fast fireroad. Mass start on the Laguna Seca raceway, big field, movin' fast, locked handlebars w/some dude, but we disengaged and got into the fireroad unscathed. jockied for position throughout the first lap, really battling it out for every pass. folks were real antsy in the singletrack, one guy in particular was being a pain, complaining about someone dabbing up ahead, then would dab himself and start cursing. whatever! by 1/4 of the way into the first 19.4 mile lap, the chain suck was so bad, i'd lost a few spots trying to fix it. when it'd lock-up on the climbs i'd just stop, hop-off, let folks by, pull chain out, then start running - last thing i wanted to do was break a chain or bend the derailluer - that'd end my chance of a good finish. was getting pretty frustrated, saw top 5 slip away, then top 10, then FINALLY, when i was getting back near 15th place or so, realized the only way to rock this course was crossing it over. Big ring up front to big ring in back. Thought of my boy Parsons in the pro ss class running 34-18 and knew it was time to man-up, stop whining and get into the flow! didn't fly 3000miles to let conditions i'm accustomed to get me down! and suddenly i was free. free to ride my race - and i started having a blast!

By the end of the first lap, had moved back within sight of top 10, but still had a lot of work to do. As we entered the singletrack for the 2nd time, my glasses were super-caked with mud, couldn't see so well, missed a few key turns, went-down a couple times, but quickly rallied. the dude who was cursing about the conditions earlier and i had traded places a bunch of times and as i went by him a final time, my legs really opening-up now, i asked if he was having as much fun as i was. he grunted something, i smiled from mud-caked ear to ear and put the hammer-down. IT WAS ON! my legs were feeling sweet and it was time to push the pace. my back was aching like crazy, but it's easy to ignore one thing when everything else is feeling on. at the water-stop i managed to spray my glasses off and it was such a relief, had full vision again! i started yelling "i can see, i can see" at the top of my lungs, it was most excellent to have vision, can barely begin to describe...

some other dudes i'd been fighting for postion w/were dropping-off the pace as the miles settled into their legs, mine were still waking-up it appeared... soon however, the higher pace had my calves and hammy's on edge of cramping due to all the standing climbs in the big ring, not used to that slow of a cadence, but kept thinking of the ss guys pushing bigger ratios and knew i could do it in the 44-34. my upper body began to tire (i stopped doing as many push-ups this season in an effort to lose weight, muscle mass, bad idea, i'm back on
Thom, getting it done! the push-up bandwagon!), from pushing the bike from side to side up the muddy climbs, legs were shakey, but it was all good, the miles were piling-up, was moving-up the field, and for the first time in the race thought i could crawl onto the podium.

i did not. 6th place in expert 30-34. i guess us early 30 dudes are the shizzle on the bizzle, in any other age
bracket i'd been in top 3. wild! pretty stoked about that. would also have finished above the top 50% in semi-pro, not great, but better than expected. have a lot to do yet, not time to start patting myself on the back or anything. some missed hours in base training haunt me, seems like i'm always 2hrs short of goal/wk... but that's what goals are for, something to reach for. my life has slowely changed as i've figured-out how to find the hours each day, am always running-out of time... anyway, had a great time out there, and now have a real tale to tell:

Mr Thom Parsons is a friggin' animal! was on the same pace as myself, but on ss! and battled for a 7th place finish in the open ss - gaining his position by way of a sprint finish with none other than Dejay Birtch. Holy crap! Thom's obviously been putting-in the miles, working hard. His company during the trip was most excellent and i'm more than grateful for his generosity in letting me ride his rig - and hang w/his crew while in cali. to many more epic rides!

6 Comments:

At 4/11/2006 12:17 PM, Anonymous .n. said...

Way to man up and throw down. Congrats!

 
At 4/11/2006 7:30 PM, Blogger JB said...

Awesome! Great finish and write-up.You're gonna have a great year.

 
At 4/11/2006 9:26 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Nice way to start the year. You guys ripped that course up!

 
At 4/11/2006 9:57 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Hey saw your finish the other day online. Way to go man! Great start to the season.
Killer report too. I hate when people bith and moan in the singletrack. Shit happens, deal with it. Talk soon. JM

 
At 4/12/2006 11:15 AM, Blogger jeff said...

"I hate when people bith and moan in the singletrack"

No doubt, if you want to ride it at your pace, work for the hole shot, otherwise, sit still, pedal and wait for the opportunities! for most of the race we'd only get "stuck" behind the pro women - and that wasn't so bad at all... not bad at all...

 
At 4/12/2006 12:35 PM, Blogger Barkernews said...

Nice work!
See - IT'S BETTER IN THE WEST.
As for the whole "back east" thing...
Isn't it "out east" and "back west"?
Whatever.
Great writeup!

 

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