Ahh, so this weekends race brought us to Eldora Resort for the 2nd to last race of the MSC's. Prerode on Friday. I would say that the course was anti-climatic form the week before at Nationals. I've definately grown accustomed to the anaerobic mountian climbs of the last 5 or 6 races. Being that this was at a Ski Resort, I expected the same. What we found was more like Battle The Bear or Nathrop. There were 2 courses-Green and Red. My course, the Green, was a 5 mile loop done 3 times. It went somethin like this-
Leave the start, to a short .2 steep climb up a fireroad.(sweet just the type of thing I'm good at) leveled out to a quick left up 2 more short, relatively steep climbs. Ride out another mile to the tight right hand switchback, do the fast downhill thing through some singletrack, and repeat... Essentially, a Short Trackers Dream Course.
Not too bad, actually, now I was worried, because where I excel (climbing) is now a non-factor. The hard part was the fact that there were a ton of loose rocks scattered all over the course. The only technical was the 2 mud bogs and 10ft steep rock wall. Which if ya stayed left instead of straight up... no problems.
So here's race day. Do my morning ritual of breakfast and Cytovol and head over to the course. Meet up with Tony B from Pedal Mashers and start our warm ups. He tells me he's a little tight, and wants to do one more climb. OK... lesson learned NEVER believe a Texan. At the start line, 30-39 is the second wave. I line up far left, and the front pack hits the gas. Being that this is supposed to be my last race as a beginner, I'm thinkin' bring it! Let's do this Sport style. Fly, through the tight right hand turn and hit the gas on the hill climb. See my competitor (Paul Mar-the guy that beat me my 19sec at Blast The Mass) drop his chain, and I'm thinkin' go time! (sorry Paul) Crest the first hill, look back... WOW... 5 of us dropped a Grenade on the hill and the rest of the back was hurtin... Nice! Within the first 2 miles we even catch the 20-29 group. As I'm going down, I suddenly hear a bike behind me. Look back to see the familiar Blue/Black Jersey of Pedal Masher's Tony Benson. Wait a tic, he's 40-45... he started a minute behind... Didn't he tell me that he was feelin tight... NEVER EVER believe a texan All right, I grab his wheel, pass a guy that I had been stalkin for a while and the race is movin. I lost wheel contact with Tony at the Mud Bog, but was still within eyesight. Make it to the first lap in 25:39. 2 more to go and I'm feelin good. Take a few secs on the flat section to fuel up and hydrate. As I'm comin to the line, Chuck B yells.."get out of the 2nd ring ya panzy..." Nice... time to go again, hit the hill for the 2nd lap, and it's feelin like a no chain day!!! Cruise the hill section and work my way towards the downhill switchback... and then the grenade gets dropped on my bike...
I was in 2 in the front and 2 on the back to cruise a short hill after a tight left switchback. As I crest, I shift to the big ring up front, and double shift the rear to # 4. Problem, the rear didn't shift. Now I'm cross chained, and the whole thing locked up. Jump off the bike hopin to free the gears by hand... no luck the rear derailuer is completely extended, there's no slack whatsoever on the chain, tons of slack on my cables, and now my drivetrain is toast!!! I spend a few more minutes and then Paul from my class, Bill and Tom from 40-45(they started a minute behind) and the slew of people we dropped grenades on, on the first lap, start blowin by! Thanks to Bill and Tom for offerin help... my day was done.
I suddenly went from having a "No Chain day", and the comin out party to Sport Class, to my first DNF in 9 races, and the first non podium in an MSC race since May. I was crushed. Walked/coasted the 2 miles back to the start. As I come to the hill Tony B from Pedalmashers is cresting with no one behind. His race is complete, and his last race as a beginner is a huge win. I also see Tom and Bill crossing the start/finish for their 3rd lap, and they too finish 2nd and 3rd. I've been racin with those 3 guys all season, and we have been fortunate to have shared our respective podiums all season. Congrats to those 3 guys!
I came into the race knowing that all I needed to do was finish, and I would have the Beginner 30-34 Championship locked up. Instead I, DNF, and will most likely take 2nd by a mere 30 points if Chris B shows up at Keystone.
Before the grenade dropped on me, it was a stellar day. congrats to the guy who did win my class. Way to ride with a good time of 1:18. To Tony, Tom, and Bill from 40+, nice job. It's time for us to move up and suffer, and see it from the spectator seats as opposed to the podium. Mark Bockman finished with an impressive 4th in Sport 30-34. Looks like he's got a lock on an MSC Championship podium spot, and first for his age division for CO NORBA rankings! I'm fearin that class next year. I've got some serious training to do! Katrina Prill, our MOJO's singlespeeder, won the State Championships, and most likely the lock on the MSC Women's Division. That girl has a ton of heart, and can put the hurt on many, many riders.
It's been a cool first season. Lessons learned... After 9 races, I still don't know how to shift NEVER trust a Texan. Not learned, but my wife rocks for supporting me all season. The cycling community brings out some really cool people! The views at the tops of the climbs, throughout the states are absolutely incredible. Man-o-man, I'm gonna miss standing on the podium. It's been a fun season. Time to do some rock climbing for a bit, and then start training for next season!