This was my first race of the year. I have been training more this winter than any other winter due to the mild temps and others willing to ride with me. Those others being...
|Bayar (on the right)|
|& Kevin Carter|
It's way more enjoyable to do a long day when you have others willing to suffer with you. The race was 5 hours away for me. I was thinking about skipping this one because it was so far away but all the guys I had been training with were going so I pre-registered and carpooled down to southern VA with Jeff.
It was a perfect day for racing; about 65 degrees and sunny. It was cool enough that you could ride hard without having to worry about overheating. The pro field had about 15 riders in it; most notably Jeremiah Bishop (he has won many national level events during of his career).
I was riding my new Scott scale 29er carbon frame with Stans Crest wheels. The set up was way lighter than the bike I had been training on about 4-5 lbs lighter. It was very noticeable how much faster it was accelerating out of corners and climbing. There was really only about 3-4 good opportunity’s to make a pass on the entire course. Having a Little bit of an extra jump came in handy when making those crucial passes on the short power climbs. About 95 percent of it was single track. It was fast and windy with power climbs and not much for rocks or roots.
At the start I ended up about 10th going into the single track (starts are not my thing). About half way into the first lap (of 3) I worked my way up to the top 6-7 riders who were all riding together led by Jeremiah (I think, I was in the back it was hard to see). I was happy to see Jeff was also in there; I thought it was a bit weird that they were riding kind of slow (compared to normal race pace). I got on the back and rode along with them. They were all so close together that there wasn’t any opportunity’s to pass.
At the start of the second lap when the course opened up for the stat/finish area there was an attack; Jeremiah accelerated on the paved section and up the climb toward entrance of the single track. Jeff was all over it; he got on Jeremiah’s wheel. I on the other hand having no sprinting ability entered back into the single tack in last position of the group. The pace continued to stay high; Jeremiah and Jeff were making everyone else work to try and keep up. Riders were cracking under the pressure I was passing them as I could do so safely. I could see Jeremiah and Jeff getting away; I hoped that Jeff could stay with him to the end. Jeff is a strong sprinter who excels in crit racing; he’s capable of laying down a lot of power all at once. In a pure sprint I think Jeff would have the upper hand.
At the start of the 3rd lap I was in 4th position behind Keck Baker in the open start/finish area. I could see Jeff up the trail; he had been dropped by Jeremiah. Jeff saw me to and slowed down in front of Keck blocking till I caught up. Jeff then started riding hard again through the twisty sections and was pulling away from Keck and I; Keck made a mistake and I passed. I put in a hard acceleration up a climb and made a gap between me and Keck and closed the gap between me and Jeff (I think Keck dropped his chain on that climb). Jeff offered to let me by to chase Jeremiah; I took him up on the offer. I still felt pretty strong; I increased my pace and 5-10 min later I could see Jeremiah in front of me he was just a couple of twists up the trail. I think he saw me too because he seemed to start riding harder; I stopped making progress closing the gap and he was starting to pull away from me. I finished 41 seconds behind Jeremiah and Jeff was 30 seconds behind me.
For the five hour drive back home after the race I used the thigh high compression leggings from Medilast Sport (they are one of our sponsors this year). I wouldn’t have tried using something like this if it wasn’t given to me but now that I’ve starting using them I’m addicted. I put them on after most my rides and for traveling. They make my legs feel more comfortable by reducing swelling (they are also meant to be used during rides too, but I haven’t tried them for that yet). These are tighter than any completion tights that I have tried and the fact that they are leggings not tights mean you can take them on and off with out taking off you shorts. I don’t have time to sit with my legs up after every ride so I find this is the next best thing. They also make some compression sleeves that work well as arm warmers (I am wearing them in the podium photo) and some nice socks too (Jeff, Dylan and I are wearing them in all the photos, Dylan is wearing the calf high compression socks in his podium photos)
|Me on my new bike|
|Dylan, Jeff and I|
|Jeremiah 1st me 2nd Jeff 3rd|
|Dylan, Kevin, Jeff, me|
|Dylan 1st place Junior|
|Jeremiah leading into the 2nd lap; just before he attacks|
|Congratulations to Jeremiah; he is off to South Africa next week for the first XC world cup of the year.|
|Dylan 2nd Senior 1|
Thanks to Dylan’s dad (Howard) for taking photos!