Thursday, October 21, 2010

Month of Mud - North park

Photo by Mike Briggs

North Park Time trail - #14th Masters - :35.51

Over 200 people? Yep, over 200 people showed up for the inaugural North Park time trial. Earlier in the week, I pre-rode the course, and on my single speed I clocked a time of 38 minutes. So on Sunday, I knew the pace would have to be high for the entire course if I wanted to get any points for the race series.

Mark and I registered, and then warmed up by stopping along the course to cheer on the expert racers that had already begun their laps. Sooner than expected, I found myself on the starting line ready to go.

In this time trial, racers are released every minute. Mark was two riders behind me, so my goal was to not let him catch me. Go! I was off. We had to first do a circle around a tree in the grass field. I almost went into it too fast and just about slid out. That would've been embarrassing.

I picked up the pace in to the woods and the initial switchbacks (where I heard later Mark took a handlebar to the chest when he crashed. I continued up the rest of the switchbacks, my heart pounding, and my lungs about to explode. Crossed the first bridge, and then soon enough I was at one of the steeper climbs of the day. Luckily with North Park being my home course, I knew I could recover afterward. And that's what I did.

Crossed the second bridge and hit those switchbacks at a high speed. All was going pretty well. Slowed down at one of the first creek crossings. I thought it best to slow down as a few weeks earlier I had burped my front tired slamming into the rock armoring. After hearing about a lot of people pinch flatting, I was glad I had slowed down.

Sped down the flowy downhill section in the pines, then headed back up the valley. Somewhere I had passed three riders, and no one had passed me. As I came to the really sharp switchback, a masters rider made a pass on the right. I had expected this, in the WV series he races expert. I stayed on his wheel for a long as I could. This definitely helped me pick up my pace quite a bit. Though I lost him on the last switchbacks to the Wisconsin shelter.

I crossed the road, and then made a left. I lost a bit of time here recovering, but it was needed. Soon, I passed my fourth rider of the day. Before I knew it, I was headed down the last decent.

At this point, I was getting a bit sloppy so I made what I hoped was a good decision. I descended at a moderate pace; I could've gone a lot faster, but I may have easily crashed.

Crossed the finish line, and about 30 seconds later, Mark crossed. I had done it, I had held Mark off.

Not exactly the finish I had hoped for, but compared to my total collapse of fitness this summer (heat, humidity, exhaustion) I was pretty happy. No back pain, which is great, but I definitely I could tell that my setup doesn't allow me to get all the power from my legs that I could.

Last race of the series this Sunday - Moraine. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks.

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