Sunday, September 23, 2007

Month of Mud - Bavington

12th place masters - :56.27

One of my favorite race sites. Mark and I got to the course early, registered, and then went for a ride. Mark had never been to Bavington, so as a warmup we rode probably about six miles of the course. Slight changes had been made to the course from the year before. Most of the changes were slight except for somewhere near the middle they put in a new steep, short downhill - a bit of foreshadowing.

While Mark and I were hanging out waiting, Joe B rides over to us. I can't believe that he'd already be done with his race, he was back too quickly. Notice immediately that he is not himself. Turns out that he crashed hard on the new downhill section. We weren't sure what he hurt, but it was obvious he hurt something. I helped him load his bike and sent him on his way to the hospital. It turns out that he had a partially collapsed lung and some sore/broken ribs. I am often amazed by the lack of injuries in bike races. Everyone rides harder than they normally would, must pass people, and ride trails that you haven't been on much.

Anyway, race started late, but finally it was my turn. We were released one minute apart as part of a time trail. I really like this concept as you are not all bunched up going in the singletrack. And when you do catch someone, it's usually one person at a time. Jerry, who is 71, went off two before me. It's inspiring to see someone of that age out competing. I hope I can do the same some day.

3, 2, 1... and off I go. This year the trails are completely dry, and I easily make it up the first windy root-filled slope. I also easily make it up the hill that comes after the first road crossing. Both of these were problems last year, probably due to the rain burst that had come through.

I quickly pass Jerry, but not too much later I see another racer, Charlie, slowly gaining on me. I picked up the pace to hold him off as long as possible, but not too long after I make room for him to pass. I then try to stick with him to help improve my pace. He slowly pulls away from me, both in the technical tight turns, and also in the areas where you can just bash your pedals.

The trail, one of my favorites, is in great condition the whole way through. I'm making pretty good time, though in the middle somewhere, I go through that phase of wondering why I'm out there, that perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad idea to pull over for a bit, sit down, and ponder life's mysteries. But at some point that passes.

I make it up every single hill this race, and not once do I need to get off and stretch my back, big improvement over last year! I had also left the big ring on the bike, which was a great move. I was able to use it quite a bit, even with the different gearing of the 29er.

Over the course of the race, I was passed by about four racers, and I passed about five. I think I may have only passed one of the guys from my class, I think the rest were sport racers.

About half way through the lap, I have to make a left turn where usually I would go right. Immediately I realize it's the new trail as it's still really soft, not worn in yet. I can see why Joe wrecked. The trail heads left, then a hard sharp right down the steep downhill. The downhill is mostly hidden by some brush, so unless you set up for it right it would be easy to take a bad line. Needles to say, after Joe's wreck I run/slide my bike down the hill.

Soon after I come out on a road, turn left, and then another left back into the woods. It's a definite hike a bike section. Very, very steep hill I take my bike up. Even lose my shoe part way up. But this section is worth it as the last two miles are a lot of quick ups and downs. If hit right not a lot of pedaling is needed to get up the hills. Almost near the end of the race, I hear my tire rubbing on something. Started to ignore it but thought better of it. Looked down and noticed my front skewer lever was hanging down. Uh oh. I have to stop and tighten it, losing about a minute, then finished the race.

Finished much better than last year. Couldn't do an exact comparison due to the trial changes, but taking into account that we were in the woods more and on the road less, I think I improved quite a bit over last year!

No comments:

Post a Comment