Even though I get schooled at these big national races I enjoy going because I like the big event feeling. there are more people around to see me riding fast and more people who look at the results. Those seems to be important things to me (as I mentioned in a previous blog entry).
The race was dryer and shorter than it was for the regional race two weeks ago. It was about 65-70 degrees. The terrain was typical ski resort type of course; steep climbs and steep descents. This year entire thing was rideable as compared with some previous years when it wasn't.
I felt ok at the start but I found my self in last place going up the first climb (that's pretty normal for me; i always seem to do poorly at the start). By the end of the second stair step of that climb I had reeled back about 10 guys and needed to wait a bit as riders had bottlenecked at the start of the single track. I passed a few more guys on the decent. Teammate John Burns and I were riding together at this point and we stayed within eye shot of each other for a while.
On the third lap decent I caught up with my root 66 buddies Brent Mellen and Matthew O'keefe on one of the cut across sections of the decent. Brent is normally way faster than me on these ski mountain courses and Matt is normally faster than me on every type of courses so I felt like I was doing good or they were doing bad? Either way it was nice to see some familiar faces. I led down the decent and i could hear Matt right behind me making comments on my foot out approach to the corners. At the bottom of the decent we regrouped so we could work together on the dirt road that goes through the start finish. Matt put in a big pull and wasn’t pulling off so I went around and let him ride Behind me till we started going up again.
I passed another rider on the 4th lap climb and another on the decent and was closing in on a third on the start finish dirt road but as approached the finish line I saw a man step out in front and motioning his arms for me and the rider in front of me to slow down. The 80 percent rule was in effect; meaning if your more than 80 percent back you get pulled. I was a bit bummed I was so close to making the cut. Oh well; I had a good race; mechanical free and I felt strong through out so I don’t have much to complain about.
I finished 34th out of 71 starters; that’s top 50%. That is Way better than my normal bottom 25% I do at these national level races. I think the biggest contributor to my better finish this year is the fact that the pro and semi-pro categories were combined. A lot of gentlemen who were slower than me moved into my category.
Next weekend is Windham... I'm looking forward to it!
aqua-car i saw at the gas station on my way up to the race
|getting ready for the start of the men's short track|
|men's short track start|
|Andrew and Hattie|
Results of the men's XC