|Buckling down on a gritty race.|
The race kicked off in Howelsen Park in downtown Steamboat Springs. At start time, the Open Class quickly funneled into a steep singletrack which created the first of a series of conga lines on the opening lap. When it quickly went to doubletrack, riders realigned for better positioning into the lush climb of singletrack. This was a solid 1500 ft climb with a couple steep pitches which were troubling to some and therefore others since the conga line regathered at these points. Once cresting this climb, it was a fast, lengthy, and flowy singletrack descent which was chalk full of tree stumps, brush, and tress that were more than happy to grab a handful of your pedals, derailleur, bar ends, helmet, you name it. When riders went down on this course, it was never pretty. I fortunately wasn't a victim but several riders amongst me were. After the thirty minute descent, we entered the second climb, a 1400 ft ascent, which was a punisher on loop 2. For whatever reason, I became complacent and kept myself behind a group of riders I should have passed much earlier. I eventually broke away from them and hunted down the next riders during the rooty rollers before entering a screaming descent. You were blinded on every corner due to vegetation up to your chest which prevented you from seeing the next corner until it was nearly under your front tire. Awesomeness! That led us onto Little Moab which was the hairiest descent I've done in a while at race speed. I got moving so fast I missed the exit and blew through the boundary tape! The rest of the descent required some extra mustard to use momentum and power up the last punchy climbs leading us to the lap through. There, I pounded a mini-Coke for immediate sugar and much needed caffeine to alleviate the incurring lower back tightness experienced for the last thirty minutes. As usual, I also snagged two more CarboRocket Half Evil 333 bottles and Honey Stinger stroopwaffles and chews. Money! I climbed out of the park feeling good about a 2:30 lap time but my back needed some TLC. I've been doing a poor job at nursing my lower back and doing core workouts for July so I bet it was catching up to me. I couldn't shake the back pain for quite some time until I popped a Twinlab caffeine which had immediate and lasting effects on my lower back as usual. What else wasn't so productive was lodging a water bottle between my crank and frame, being fixated on having a Dairy Queen at mile 35 (thanks to my teammates!), and on the second bout with the rooty rollers I failed to realize I was in the big ring instead of the middle ring. Whatever remaining power I did show up in Steamboat with had straight up disappeared until I looked down and thought...amateur status.
|Aaron, #103, and I navigating the gorgeous singletrack climb.|
I have to thank Steve and Aaron again for letting me take up some real estate on their hotel floor on the night before the race. This season has been such a great success with the support of my team, Rocky Mountain Racing, who have helped me become a better racer and enriched the mountain biking culture around me.
Next race is today in Winter Park for Crankworx Colorado. It's a 25 mile cross country race which is twice as short as any race I'll do all season which means there'll be ample amounts of pain well beyond lactate threshold. Despite lacking speed work and top end power from a big June and July, my body is cooked and has maybe one more race left until August's hibernation. Then it's PCP2P, 24 Hours in Colorado Springs Nat'l Championships, 25 Hours in Frog Hollow, and possibly Dawn to Dusk AZ to end the 2011 season before my brutal winter training sessions when I'm most compulsive. I'm actually really looking forward to it already!
See you out there,