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Complete Bastard
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well last weekend we went out to Landahl to do the final Heartland series race. Dire forecasts of tons of rain had been the norm all week, but on friday it looked like it was going to miss us. No such luck. Saturday morning about 6 am it started pouring and didn't relent the entire day. It ended up raining about 4" that day. I got to the race site about 9 and got ready to go. I sprayed a ton of wet lube on my chain and sprayed the rear triangle and tires with pam to keep the mud from sticking so much.

This race was a mass start, so all classes started at the same time. It was about a 7 mile loop for us beginners and the sports and experts were doing 2 & 3 laps. It was pouring, my dad used to say, like a cow pissing on a flat rock. I didn't have prerace jitters too much this time. I must be getting used to this. They started us off and we all took off like madmen for a loop around the starting area and then to the first climb. I sprinted to get out near the front, which seemed to work, but I usually blow up when I do this so I tried not to kill myself this time. We got to the first climb behind the fast people and it was just gross. 2" deep greasy missouri mud. Trying to ride up it was an exercise in futility so I hopped off and ran until it leveled out, then got back on and rode as fast as I could. I THINK I was in first place at this point but not sure since the field was so confused with the mass start. The good thing about the rain this time as opposed to the last race was it didn't stop, so the mud didn't thicken up into concrete. You could fling it off your tires okay. It was a lot of doubletrack, about 2 or 3 miles. I keep up a pretty serious pace the whole way and passed a lot of people who I normally don't pass. As we emerged into the bean field I shoulder-checked a tree which turned my whole arm numb. I didn't go down but it still hurts today 6 days later. The beanfield was a total mess. At least 6" of mud in some places. I rode where I could and ran where I couldn't. Then we got onto a fairly fast doulbletrack descent into the woods. The guy who was ahead of me in the points caught me at this point, I think risking some serious injury trying to make up time on the descent. I gotta give him props for that, he was racing downhill on a hardtail in the rain with rimbrakes. We stuck together as we got onto the singletrack until I started to get what I thought was chainsuck. Apparently when I took my bike apart last week I must have started to loosen the derailleur clamp bolt and forgot to retighten it because my der was cocked out at an angle. I straightened it and didn't shift the front rings for the rest of the race. That turned out okay because the middle was enough to get me where I needed to go. This section of singletrack was really rocky and technical, and I ran a lot of it. I like riding this stuff but sometimes running is faster.

The races for heartland are usually really well marked, and this one was too. After I got going again there was a spot where you could turn left onto a new trail to head towards the finish or keep going straight. Someone at some point had ridden through the tape that kept you from going straight and didn't put it back up. Since it was buried in mud I flew right past it and kept going and ended up in the upper field with a whole group of sport riders. I told em we made a wrong turn and took off back the way I had come. I think they must have descended that doubletrack from the field again and gone around the long way because I finished about 5 minutes before they came through. I flew back down into the singletrack and made the proper turn this time. This new trail was on a hillside, and off camber. The dirt was packed really tight so water was just sheeting off of it and only about the top 1/4 inch was mud. As you rode you'd drift downhill but if you tried to correct your steering your front wheel would slide out. So you'd ride, drift, slide out, dab, ride, drift, slide out, dab. I think this trail is probably awesome when it's dry, but wet it's kind of a challenge. Finally the trail ejected us onto the rest of that doubletrack descent and I took off trying to catch the guys in front of me. The parts where the water was running was the hardest packed part of the course so if you rode in the water, you were usually okay, and it washed the mud off your tires. We busted out into the scout camp and I sprinted to the line. I came in 4th out of 4 though, because of the wrong turn. Kind of annoying. Later on they had people there to direct people the right way to go but for us it was a major screwup. It cost one of the singlespeed guys the title.

Since the guys who were in 1st and 2nd in the points didn't race, and there were only 4 of us (2 of which had never raced in the series) we got enough points in the end to drop the 2nd guy to 4th place, moving me up to third and the guy in front of me to second. A nice end to the season and my first trophy. We're all going to move up to sport next year so we can suffer longer. Beginner races, by the end of the season, turned out to be way too short.
 

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contains quinine
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Landahl rocks. My best weekend of racing was there, right after it opened. Glad to here there's still racing going on there, although I'm not sure how much fun it could be when it's that muddy.
 

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Great report! Sounds wet.... Seems like there's a lot of racing going on in the rain lately! Great job sticking it out and being consistent. Lucky break that the derraileur didn't seem to give you too much of a hassle. Funny how racing seems to amplify ANYTHING that goes wrong, or threatens to, on a bike! Guess it's just the intensity, as opposed to just a ride.... where you could leisurely stop and make repairs.
 

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LOL! Love the dude in the yellow movie-popcorn bag "rainwear" standing in the back!

After re-reading the post, I noticed the last line.... about beginner race length's. The one reason I regret having jumped up to expert was the extended pro-length torture! WAY harder to meter your output efficiently while being fast, strong, and still have something left as the last lap approaches, or the last 1/3rd of the course. GU, food, water/gatorade type stuff all play a a critical role. In the very beginning of the season, when I won 2 sport races, it was during the pre-rides that I figured the length/duration of output would be short enough (aprx. 1.5 hrs) that I could HAMMER the whole time, more or less, and be OK with a GU packet or two, and a bottle of sport drink. Fast forward to some of my recent floggings, and I've only just now started to figure out the timing & amounts I need to eat/drink, and how to ride consistently. Once you move up, you'll see what I mean!

FWIW I highly recommend a road bike for some long & strong hours in the saddle. I can honestly thank that for my Moab win in April, as a lot of the course was a drag race, then a good climb! Then of course a hike a bike, then a crazy fun 5 mile descent on Amassa Back. Being a fairly capable technical rider, the race was going to be decided on the first 15-17 miles or so, especially on the climb up to Hurrah Pass. The length of this portion was well within the distance I figured I could go all out, recover on the first descent, cruise the backside and so on.... Bock probably almost caught me on this back "leg", BTW!

Anyhow, keep it fun, and racing pays back ten-fold in satisfaction and accomplishment.

Next race: Santa Fe Prison Loop Road Race.
MTBike: Pajarito Punishment, then Signal Peak Challenge (both here in NM) and then the Mountain States Cup finals in Keystone on Labor Day Weekend.

Keep your posts coming! When's your next race? Is it really next year???? :eek:
 

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Complete Bastard
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2,282 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've actually ordered a CX bike for doing some long rides. I'll put smooth tires on it for road riding. My normal training ride is on a rails to trails type trail and it's great, no cars and really long (225mi) but there aren't any hills to speak of, so I don't get any good hill training. I figure I can ride the cx bike on this for long slow distance and then do some road rides to get some interval hills in.

This is the last race in this series this season. There are 3 series in the state though so I have races coming up till oct, just none that are A priority. I found out today there is a race this weekend, I'm trying to figure out if I should go and then if I should race sport or beginner. My fiance says no because we're getting married in 36 days and she doesn't want me limping down the aisle. (Knock on wood). But I may have to go race anyhow. There is a 6/12 endurance race coming up that I may go 6hr solo in, and another race in Oct that is looking probable. Our honeymoon is going to tie up a good part of september so I'm going to miss anything then but we'll be riding in crested butte and fruita for our honeymoon so it's a fair trade!

I've raced in the other series in the state, and they're okay, but nothing approaching the good vibes, pleasant people, and great racing that this one has. I've had people cussing at me to pass, rude comments, etc in other series but this one is awesome.

I suppose I'm going to have to remember to drink and eat gel with the longer races. With the shortness of the beginner races if you forget it's okay, I don't think that'll be the case going twice as long.
 
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