Monday, September 24, 2007

Winding Trails

Winding Trails
Root 66 series
Farmington CT

This is a flat, fast course with some windy sections and few ups or downs. The conditions this weekend were dry making the course seem even faster than normal. There were at least three rerouted sections from previous times I had raced here. The soil was still soft and loose. The dust was worst in these areas.

The race was only 20 miles long consisting of four laps five miles each. I normally mix my water bottles thick with acclerade (orange flavors is the best) so I don’t need to carry gels. I mixed it thinner today I am glad I did. I don’t think I would have been able to choke it down otherwise. With such a short race the intensity was high from the gun. There was a lot of drafting and bumping shoulders. It felt more like a long short track than it did a cross-country race. The intensity was high like a short track and my lungs were burning and my mouth was full of flem like they normally are during a short track. Except instead of being a 20-minute race this lasted for an hour and 13 minutes

I finished third out of 13 riders. The top five finished within a minute of each other, a very close race. It was important for me to do well; this being the last race of this series, over all awards were being handed out. I was receiving the overall first place in the series title for the pro/ semi-pro men I felt an obligation to show I wasn’t just the guy who showed up to the most races but that I had some talent too (at least a little bit). I was happy with third and I was happy with how the season went as a whole. I felt I improved this year so I can’t complain.

I feel the root 66 series is a good one. It’s well organized; they offer promptly posted results and pictures after every race. A lot of races, 14 I think, some good ones too, mount snow, coyote hill, holiday farm, channel 3 and land mine are some of my favorites. It s a good diversity of courses ranging from super fast to slow and technical. I hear people complain that their are too many fast courses. It’s true they do have a lot of fast courses; probably not places I would drive to just go for a ride but when you throw in the race aspect and even fast plain courses are fun.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mount Snow, bears, neck

September 16th 2007, my birthday, International Ozone Day and date of the Kenda Mount Snow XC Classic. The race turnout was not as large as last weekend, which was kind of strange. I think Mount Snow is a lot better venue than last weekend.

The day was beautiful about 60, sunny with puffy white clouds and the smell of fall in the air. Vermont has got to be one of the prettiest places to be during fall. Trees just started to turn but its still pretty.

I felt good coming into this race except that my neck was a little stiff from sleeping on it wrong. After warming up a bit on the course, I was discouraged. My neck really hurt and it showed during the race. I was riding crappy during the beginning of the race but even when I warmed up a bit and my neck felt better I had lost my motivation after loosing so much time at the start. The third lap I got my head in the game and passed a couple of people to come in 6th out of 9. My neck felt a lot worse after the race and I bought a neck collar on the way home.

West Dover the town Mount Snow is near had something going on with these bear sculptures. Identical bear sculptures were all over town. They were the same shape but I guess not identical because they were decorated differently. Some pretty good ones. Who ever decorated them must have spent a while doing it. I tried to get a picture of all of them. 19, I think. Probably missed some.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Land Mine MTB Race

This past weekend I participated in the land mine mountain bike race. The park was at one time a land mine and torpedo factory. The park is called Wompatuck, 3500 acres of park in the middle of thick suburbs just east of Boston. A lot of people showed up, because of the close proximity to Boston and the fact there was a bike festival the day before. I think a lot of people were making a weekend of it. There were about 300 racers.

The turn out for my category was pretty slim, only four people. I think the riders in my category must be getting burnt out this late in the season. This race is part of the root 66-race series. In the beginning of the series there were about 15 in my category showing up at all of the races. I’ve gone to all the races this season except for one. I have been trying to win the series. I thought this would be difficult but my competition hasn’t been showing up to races. So I’m doing better than I should be.

I felt pretty good before this race, I had a good chance to get a good amount rest in, I hadn’t raced in three weeks. That was the longest I’ve gone with out racing all season. I was chomping at the bit to get back to racing by the time this race came along. In the back of my mind I was a bit worried that I would be a little stale from not riding hard for a while.

I started off in last but worked my way up through the crowd of riders (all three of them). I had a 3-minute gap by the mid point of the race. It was a one-lap 22-mile race with lots of twists and turns. It was well marked but it was important to keep your head upto look for the next turn. I was in first so I didn’t have anyone to follow. There were a couple of times when a turn came up quickly. No major issues, it was a well-organized course and a lot of fun.

The year prior, someone went out and took down race makers, just before the race. The organizers sent out volunteers to inspect the course just before the start of this year’s race, so this wouldn’t happen again. I wonder why anyone would want to take down trail markers anyway. Probably some one who thought he/she was cleaning up litter.

Anyway back to the race. I finished in first place, three minutes ahead of the next rider. I guess I didn’t gain any more time in the last half. The win solidified my lead in the overall series lead. My teammate John Burns came just shy of coming in second. He was 25 seconds off, if it wasn’t for having to stop twice for mechanical issues, I think he would have been able to have come in second.

Next weekend is Mount Snow, pretty nice venue for a regional race series. I think the participant turn out should be better for this race just because it’s mount snow. Everyone who races mountain bikes in the east coast knows about Mount Snow. It should be fun either way.