Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mt Snow, Nationals

when nationals comes to town, you gotta go. pre-4a wake-up and 2+hr drive down, registered, out warming-up by 7-715, cool temps perfect for a race, 3 days of steady rain has finally blown-out, but reminders of it everywhere. 753a, at staging, Harry (and Kay) appear, grab my btls. line-up in the 3rd row half in a puddle, take what you can get. we're off, easing into position, the first little climb is wide and steep shattering the pack and sending us into singletrack barely battling, 2 riders are completely off the front and blow the field to pieces.

find myself right outside the top 5, surprised, seeing the lines just fine, try to settle-down and enjoy the ride, so much floats through my head early in a race - most of it distracting. as the race continues, the chatter subsides equally to how good the legs feel, focus is found, inner peace by concentration and success? when tired or bonking the chatter picks back up, but i digress, back to the race.

off the bike 5-10mins into the race. the technical climb is unridable, ankle-deep mud in places, try to run, make a pass when possible. my head is ringing, "this is a cross race on crack!", continue-on, drums beating-out a rhythm above. for those not familiar w/mt snow, a cpl folks hike-up before each xc and pound-out a steady beat, rain or shine, they are the shit.

grind up the fireroad portion of the climb, super slick in spots, aim for traction, for rocks, the piranha [hutchinson 2.0 ust] on the rear isn't pleased and sulks its way around the course, but manages. as we crest i don't fight too hard for placement into the woods for the long technical descent and begin the long slipe-and-slide down. riding it out, not braking (much), let the bike cut-through wheel-deep mud, rooty, rocky stuff, have to let it flow like water, one mistake leads to another and you're too far off line, i panic, crash directly onto the hip w/stitches, let-out a rediculous cave-man yell. at least i got the fall (i was fearing) out of the way early. pain brings nausea, the chatter in my head gets louder, must focus and get back into the race, on the bike, sliding, little too cautious, slow is bad in these conditions, gotta have enough speed to get the wimpy 80mm forks over the big obstacles, i miss my line, brake too much and slide sideways into the woods. stop. focus. back on the bike in secs, this time letting it roll a bit better, by the btm my hands are numb from too-tight a grip, but the noise in my head is gone and by the fireroad climb of the 2nd lap can see 5-6 riders in front, pass a cpl into the woods, know i need to make my moves on the climb, the descent is a test of survival for me today.

lose a spot to brooke scatchard on the descent (and time to everyone in front), i find myself right behind brooke's 29'er at every race it seems. pound the pedals through the start/finish and up to Harry at the feed zone. there are pretty much NO spectators out for friday's 8am semi-pro mudfest, definitely didn't feel like nationals, am grateful to harry (and kay) for waking-up early and standing in the mud, especially considering harry's race was 9hrs later and i had to bolt for home... L.

catch brooke on the climb, but don't bother trying to squeeze by, i know he can put 30-60secs on me in the descent, so let him go and focus on my race as we wind back down the mtn. as we turn corners on the descent Spotters blow whistles letting spectators know you're coming (even when there are no spectators). the whistles also let racers know how big gaps are. brooke's gap goes out of earshot while a hardy ss'ers grows near. i emerge from the woods w/a 5-10 sec gap on my ss friend and take advantage of my barely functioning gears, pounding on the pedals to the finish, legs screaming. 9th place, a blistering average speed of 7mph! not bad for my first time out (at nationals) as a semi-pro. am stoked. it's been a hard cpl wks, been hammering nails in the sun and getting the rides in, beat-down by sunset, glad to see it come together for this one. would have liked to be 60secs faster on each descent, but still wouldn't have gotten me onto the podium, there's always next yr!

congrats to thom for his podium in the open ss and to mo for winning ANOTHER stars and stripes jersey, this time on her mtbike! harry fought it out in the U23 race, haven't heard his report... thanks for the pics and btls harry, you are the man.

here i am explaining to harry and kay why i'm awesome.


At 7/27/2007 2:03 PM, Blogger MRussell said...

Great job at Nationals.

Go Team Green.

At 7/28/2007 10:24 AM, Blogger wraith said...

Sounds like the chair lift might give some good training. Bring your pads the learning curve is steep.

At 7/29/2007 7:26 PM, Blogger Andy said...

go with a full face helmet too! stitches help mend torn skin but teeth don't grow back.

good job 'ya semi pro!

At 7/31/2007 8:38 PM, Blogger Tim said...

Nice report, thanks for that, good work again!!!


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