Monday, July 31, 2006

Jay MTB - Race Report

Arrived in Fayston Vermont Friday night at the Jordan's. Heavy thunderstorms washed-out sections of the road, figured we were in for a massive mud fest. Mike cooked-up a pasta feast, ate, ate some more, drank a cpl, hit the sack.

Saturday morning we decide to go for a shake-down ride in Fayston, need to get to Jay to see Harry in the mtn marathon, but figure this'll be quick. we follow Mike up a climb behind his house and up and up and up - for 60 mins we did nothing but climb. andy and i are looking at each other like, "we'd be animals if we lived up here!!!". we finally turn into some muddy double-track and climb some more, then we descend at speed, the piranha's diggin' into the mud like crazy, nice, now i don't have to geek-out on tire selection. we quickly hit a wide-open field w/Mt Ellen directly in front (and the base way below) us. This is a monster shake-down ride. I'm beginning to think we've gotten ourselves into an epic. We decide to turn around and are cleaning-up at mike's 14mins later grinnin' like fools from the rippin' 50mph descent. we show mike the now infamous "praying mantis" descending position, which thom mastered out west (and which i immediately stole). you're like a 50lb cannon ball rollin' downhill (it's the bomb?).

we arrive late to the marathon, don't know where harry is, so camp-out at the finish w/a sixer and enjoy a perfect day. he rolls-in looking super strong! end-up wrenching on our bikes a tad and watching cheesey action movies at the Hotel Jay, right on the start line. nice.

Sunday! Tinker's bike gets lost in transit, big bummer for him, but looking better for the rest of us. Perfect bluebird day, cool clear air blew-in overnight, light breeze, really fantastic day to be outside. we start the race pretty mellow, the field quickly thinning out as we begin the 30min assault on Jay Peak. All but a few hundred meters is ridable and amazingly I find myself with Racine, Lyster, and Gagliarde, w/Brooke (last name?) about 50meters off the front. then wham! Andy's there too. So solid. We crest, i trying not to take a digger while staring at the magnificent view.

the descent off Jay is a trip! Brooke and Racine are gone, I settle in behind Lyster and Garliarde, Andy right there. not a 100% rip by any means, as 100% means taking huge chances, got tossed bad last yr. Fly across the bottom, then down off the mtn and onto a short piece of asphalt, then up into some muddy atv track where Lyster slams it. Gagliarde passes while i'm laying in a stream, then i him while he's in the bushes, then him i when my now-soaked hand comes-off the bars on a nasty downhill. you get the picture. lyster, racine and brooke leading are gone, Gagliarde chases, i settle-into a pace w/Andy after quickly stopping to lube my already chain-sucking chain.

we cruise-on for a few miles on a massive rippin' fireroad descent (which we climb up on the way to the finish), then andy gets a flat in his rear tubeless - Stans can't seal the hole, i slow, then leave him to repair and continue down the rippin' fireroad, climb, descend, repeat en route to mile 30 aid station.

we enter some keep-your-hands-on-the-bars and head-screwed-on-tight 5mph super-technical singletrack up a ridge then right back down up to the same aid station. i pass Gagliarde in the woods, he's got a flat, i offer CO2 and a tube, he declines, but it's sweet for me, as i'm now in 4th place. feeling really strong, mtb mojo flowing like water. climb, descend, repeat, eventually to some smoother singletrack, which winds through pine needles, down into the technical rooty stuff, then back-up to the pine. way too quickly, we're on the pavement for a grinding 7mile road climb up jay pass. keep the legs churning, don't see anyone chasing, wonder where andy is... a group of roadies descends on the other side of the road at 50+ mph, the sound of the wind in their wake is invigorating, find myself increasing the tempo until the final pitch.

at the top of jay pass, i see racine laying on the ground, stretching a leg-out. as harry fills water (he was at all the aid stations cheering us on, way solid!) a guy rolls into the aid station right on my heels, where in the hell did he come from!? whoa, time to go! i get into the preying mantis and plummet to the bottom in 3rd place.

turn onto a dirt road up to the base of jay, down some crazy, muddy, technical atv track before hitting the best flowing singletrack of the race. it ends way too quickly and back onto atv track then onto the asphalt through the town of jay where i see jenn for the first time. i don't eat at the aid station, my stomach has begun to turn, big mistake...

not sure how we got there, but find myself climbing through some wicked narrow xc ski trails up and over a ridge into westfield. i'm starving, huge bad sign, need to eat, but can't in this kind of singletrack. the guy who closed on me at Jay Pass aid station is on my heels, i let him by and eat a cliff bar in 5 bites, but within minutes am deep into a bonk. way deep. heart rate plummets, cold sweats, i'm slogging along, can't ride much, but keep moving. i hear voices behind me and know i'm losing mad time. 20-30' later at the final aid station i'm just barely recovering from the bonk. andy rolls-up seconds later, looking really strong w/two fellas right on him (whom he's nicknamed "flower power" and "alp d'huez"). alp d'huez skips the aid station to make a move while the fella that passed me in the singletrack is sitting in a chair looking destroyed. so this is it. a 4 man battle for the last podium spot up a 5+ mile
monster climb in the baking sun. good times.

i'm feeling better, but still can't get the heart rate above 140-150. andy says, "you can take us all, go for it". i take the encouragement and make a foolish move to open a small gap, then have to shut it down, the engine just isn't firing yet. alp d'huez makes a move, opening a 30sec gap, andy follows, i fall-off w/flower-power passing me as well. we finally summit that beeyatch and thankfully descend for a short bit, the rest does me good and i speed by flower-power on a muddy fireroad leading-up to the base of Jay Peak before hitting a short section of unridable, barely walkable "singletrack". i see andy and alp d'huez through the trees, i run w/legs reminiscent of raw pizza dough, bike slamming off rocks, slippin, falling, not ready to let 3rd slip away.

we get-out onto the Jay golf course, about 1mile left to the finish. alp d'huez's decision to not take-on food/water at the last aid station catches up to him at the worst possible time. with 1/2mile to go it's just andy and i. we both say we don't care, the other can take it. if it was anyone else i'd have sprinted right from the golf course. with 200meters to go i put-in a mild push, andy doesn't bother to respond, i get-up to the line and stop a foot short, wait 5secs for andy. i invite him across, he insists i do. our "grudge match" comes to a tie! 70miles of brutal climbing, who knows how much vert, 8:05 even (winner across in 7:40). Andy took the cohutta 100, i the mohican 100, then a tie at the Jay. pretty awesome way to end things. We chat with Alp D'Huez and Flower Power, good guys, then Tinker hands-out the awards and we chat him up for a while... andy's got pics of the dreads he'll post soon enough. only thing that was weird, were the "podium prizes," which included a basketball, a pair of socks and a hat. no cashola. i guess andy and i will share the basketball. he can have it on odd days, i on even.

Mike Jordan crossed the line a while later, a huge smile on his face. no cramps, nice and steady, he made it! first evah mtbike race - and it's the toughest in New England.

with the transRockies in a week and andy and i riding at such a similar level, really makes me wonder how we'd have done out there. the legs felt fine on today's ride... there's always next year and the year aftah!


At 7/31/2006 8:51 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Wow great race for you and Andy!
You must be geeked with that finish.(and with that basketball)

Great job!


At 8/01/2006 7:08 AM, Blogger rick said...

great ride! way to rip it up. although, that basketball may be the end of your friendship. that'd be like having to share a honus wagner card. can't be done!

At 8/01/2006 9:17 AM, Blogger Andy said...

oh we'll get to the trans rockies one of these years!

At 8/01/2006 9:22 AM, Blogger IF Chicks said...

What an exciting report! SO you like the tires ?? How much of Jay is dirt/gravel road ? I need a better tire for SM100..the vertical pros might have been too much rolling resistance.

I still don't understand the basketball as a prize, it sounds like "re-gifting" to me ! If you got 3rd at W101, you would have seen cash and gotten some bike swag (you pick yourself off a tarp).

Great race Jeff, congrats on all your hard work.

At 8/01/2006 12:25 PM, Blogger JB said...

Great ride by both of you guys!!!

Realy enjoyed the write up.

Well done

At 8/01/2006 8:58 PM, Blogger jeff said...


totally geeked.

At 8/02/2006 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are awesome! Love, Lisa


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