Monday, May 23, 2011

Catching up...

There has been a ton going on for me lately and there is still lots of stuff in the works.

I got a new car.  It is a really big deal for us.  We were a one car family for a long time.  I hope I didn't make too big of a mistake!  Only time will tell...

Last weekend was really busy.  Allison and I did a big MTB ride on Saturday.

Nothing quite like a long beautiful day on the trails in the mountains with my wife!!!!!!!!

Sunday we went to my buddy's wedding.  It was a lot of fun!

My training hasn't been ideal and I have been stressed to the limit lots lately.  I hope things settle out at some point though with the number and magnitude of changes that are on the horizon I don't think it is likely to happen any time soon.

As a result of all these things and others my training and racing takes a hit.  This last weekend I wanted to get a good training ride on Saturday and then race in Big Bear on Sunday.  The training ride didn't quite go to plan  and my win streak was ended.

The course in Big Bear has always been a tough one for me.  I am not sure whether it is the altitude or the "big loop" format that makes it so difficult for me.  For sure the combination of longer climbs and high altitude is one that puts me at a disadvantage to the "pure climbers".  In any case, I am pretty sure I put in my best time to date on the course and netted myself second.  Quick recap:

Warm up was a bit short, 33 minutes.  I rode down the final descent to get a look at it (no pre-ride, this definitely costs me some time on course as I could likely go faster if I was more familiar with the course) and then pedaled around some.  The start was interesting as we started with the 30-34 riders.  I got to see the brutal acceleration of Marco and rode Ty's wheel for a while.  Several riders went up the road early and came back just as fast.  It was hard to tell details as we were working through traffic immediately but it looked like a lead group formed containing Ty, Marco, and several others (maybe 6 riders?).  I was leading a chase group when we crested the first climb maybe 30 seconds back.  I had a few guys on my wheel but I never looked back.  I passed through quite a few riders and don't know whether they were shelled by the leaders of our wave or if they were from earlier waves.  At one point as we undulated across the top of the mountain Curt Buoma came around me and pulled for a bit.  He was not as fast going through the corners on the fire road and I wound up back in front before too long as I was afraid of losing time to the leaders riding behind him.  I knew he was a strong rider as he had placed second behind me at the Sycamore Canyon race and he looks quite a lot more like a climber than I do!  In retrospect I should not have wasted energy chasing Ty and Marco as they aren't in my age group.  I didn't know if anyone in my age group was with them, but I should have focused on trying to conserve and just beat Curt as he was my most immediate threat.  In any case, I led as we started descending the fire road, and continued to lead down Wet Dream.  I caught a rider right at the top of the next single track (Cabin 89) and he was being fairly tentative which meant that Curt was right on my wheel down the hardest part.  I might have gapped him here were it not for traffic, but that is just speculation. I got around the other rider and started pushing.  It had been over a year since I had ridden the trails though and I wasn't going as fast as I could.  I was however going fast enough to make a mistake, pushing hard through a loose left hander I lost traction front and rear and slid, staying upright, for a 180 degree turn.  That was the last time I had the lead.  Curt went by as I spun my bike back around and I quickly caught onto his wheel.  Curt soon caught THE Ben Jones and we both passed just before turning right and starting up the single track climb.  Almost immediately Curt started to pull away from me.  I didn't make any mistakes I just didn't feel like I could match his pace up the climb.  I did my best to limit my losses and keep from cramping, I could feel my legs protesting and threatening to lock.  Right at the top of Cabin 89 I caught Danny Munoz from the Pro field.  He said he was blown but picked up his pace and put in an attack that gapped me off.  I was riding a steady pace.  At the top of 2N51Y (I hate this climb) I caught of glimpse of Curt up the road.  I had some hope of catching him.  I caught Danny Munoz where we turned off onto Pirates.  We were both held up at the log roller.  I jumped off my bike and ran around the group of people queued up.  Traffic was brutal.  In quite a few places the lower category riders were simply making things way harder than they have to be.  Still behind Danny I blasted past rocks, trees, and other riders.  At the bottom of Pirates Danny wasn't being aggressive enough for me on passing the lower Cat riders so I went by.  The section of 2N10 down to the start was silly loose and there were riders skidding their way through corners.  I tried to pick my way through and neither sample dirt myself or cause anyone else to, I was successful but it was touch and go a few times.  The traffic onto the last single track was stupid.  People were tri-poding through the corners on Fern Trail.  I made some off-line passes and the spectators went nuts.  I was pretty sure that time was out to catch Curt, but that wasn't stopping me from trying.  I beat Danny Munoz to the line, finishing 8th Amateur overall and 2nd in my Age Group.  Win streak over.  Moving on.

I have a lot of work to do if I want to have a decent showing at Nationals.  Only time will tell.

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