well.......the season has started! i cant even express how stoked i get during this time. i mean when you work your ass off in the off season lifting, running, xtraining, then riding, riding, riding...in cold weather, late or early, and sometimes inside(yuk)...by the time the season starts it just feels good to throw down! i love racing. i still get the jitters before races...10 years later!..i love it, not sure there's anything else in the world that do that to me.
race 1 and 2 are in the bags already....1st ever xc race in Hattiesburg was first on tap, Tuffburg! the course is fast...not much climbing but tight and twisty. The overall turnout was great but the cat 1 class was small, with only 10 total races and only 3 in my age group. We all started together and geez...i slipped a pedal, had drive train issues and almost fell over off the start. Nice. once i got up right, i had already had lost 50 meters on kuppersmith, who was my main compo on the day...so i had to gun it! we went into the single track 1-2 but I never really caught back onto his wheel...within 20 meters the entire time until he snapped his chain 3/4's threw lap one. I felt his pain but could do nothing for him...i just kept going. At about half way threw the 2nd lap, i saw him back on the chase...i gunned it to maintain the lead...i would never see kuppersmith again. (i later learned he snapped another chain) i finished lap 2 feeling good. the 3rd lap seemed to fly by! I knew i had a sizable lead on 2nd place so i slowly shut the engine down on the 4th and final lap...i would say the effort went back about 30%...the effort would have dropped regardless b/c your boy was getting tired...but overall felt good.
race 2 was the first SERC race and always a good way to test early season fitness levels. i had come off a fairly ez week of training so i was ready to race. I felt good on the pre ride laps on Saturday and was excited to race...the course was fast...several short punchy climbs with some tecky sections and fast flats! Race day greeted us with perfect weather and a dry trail. after a 30 min warm up i headed to the line to size up the compo...it was think. I saw Andy the sandbagger johnston, andy mills, a few cannonade kits, several extremely tan racers from south FL who have just come off the FL state champ series and the coconut cup in deep south FL, the field size was a lil smaller than i thought it would be. only 18ish toed the line in the cat 1 master's with me...once the gun went off, it was on! i entered the trail about 7th place. the top 3 dudes were about 10 meters off the front immediately! about a 4 man chase group with me in 3rd position were just behind the leaders. andy mills was just in front of me and dropped his chain and fell off. the 3 of us kept on together. as we came out on the flats at the end of lap 1 dude behind me went around, i should have followed, but stayed put not wanting to blow on lap 1 of 5...but by the time we came through the 1st lap, the cannonade rider i was pacing was fading so i went by going into lap two. My power was good so i tried to be aggressive and ride fast, not having my HR monitor or clock working i had no idea where i was with numbers so i just rode...thru laps 2 n 3 i could tell i was slowly pulling riders closer to me...but i just wasn't doing it fast enough...then just as i was going into the last lap, i caught 4th place, the guys who passed me late in lap 1, so i tried to up the pace and drop him...well, he jumped on my wheel...i rode steady and and as smooth as i could...but he stayed with me. then on the back of the course, there was a climb that was easier to run, so i thought i would try and attack there...run up, hammer through the bottom, and take it home free...well, i attacked and got the gap i wanted...about 10 bike lengths through the woods...but my HR was red lined and i was out for a sec...as we climbed the last climb before the he rode right back up to my wheel...i knew i was in trouble! as we came out to the open flats, he went i around...i grabbed his wheel...i stayed there until we got into a small section where the winds were a lil strong and he attacked again. i tried to go but couldn't...i stayed about 5 seconds behind him...until the line. i was bummed that i could close the gap down. I will say that i rode a faster lap on my 5th vs. my 3rd and 4th...so that's good. my power was steady and i felt good overall...just don't have the high end speed yet.
more to come...below are a few pics...
my crappy start at tuffburg
tight lil bridge/mud crossing in tuffburg
going thru for my laps at the SERC