Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jackson Hole 2009

Me trying to recover after the sprint finish with Reed.
Jackson Hole race recap:
Reed's account of this race is great, so I don't need to go into too much detail. This was by far one of my favorite race courses and events in general. The fields are smaller, the trail technical and the competition this year has been exciting.
I didn't realize I had won this race the past two years. What's even more interesting is that I've shaved time off each year for the past 4 years. 1:26, 1:23:31, 1:21 and now 1:16. Having someone pushing you like Reed makes you ride as hard as you possibly can, then following him on lap 2 I was determined not to lose contact, which I started to do just before the big road climb. I forced myself to push hard enough to close the gap within 10 yards by the top of the climb and that made the difference, otherwise Reed would have been gone and I'd be coasting in for 2nd place. We both made mistakes on the downhill after the oxygen sucking climb but his was worse, although he was up quick and apparently ok after his crash. I was finally able to get by on the road with a hard kick which was critical considering the technical nature of the finish run-in (it has a hard left that's off camber just 40 yards from the finish). I was just able to hold him off on the sprint into the line and felt great, not so much because I won, but more because I raced my best and didn't make too many mistakes.
The whole trip to Jackson was a great experience and one I look forward to each year. It's a beautiful area to visit, I get to spend time with good friends and just relax and ride bikes. This year we also got to ride some amazing single track that we didn't even know existed in years past. Putt Putt to Cache Creek to Game Creek, then West Game Creek to Ferrins back to Cache and Putt Putt. 25 miles of amazing trails in the mountains of Wyoming. It's a MUST do circuit.
I already am looking forward to next year.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

'09 Snowbird Mountain Bout

Me, Brad, Jason and Reed going off the line.

Brief Recap:
WA state weather again today, rained on the pre-ride but course was in good condition. New trail very nice, much more suited to my climbing style, technical, but at a decent grade. Not the granny gear crank of the Dick Bass Hwy of years past. Eventually the Snowbird course will be one of the best. Next step, eliminate the treacherous gravel road downhill.

This year turned out pretty good. Reed and I sprinted off the line and went 1,2 into the single track. We were able to control the pace on the technical, rooty, rocky first section. This gave everyone a chance to relax I think, instead of cranking up a bill hill and blowing up. When we hit the new trail which eventually dumped us on a dirt road for stretch, the attacks came. I was able to only lose a few spots and we were back on single track. I got by Reed and then took some risks and snuck by Brad on the downhill, then it was only Kevin and John to try to hold on to. Kevin flatted, and, although I expected him to, didn't come back. So my goal was to try to stay in contact with John H on his FS setup and hold off Brad and Jason who I could see not far behind me. By the third lap however I couldn't even see J.H. anymore and I had a comfortable lead on the boys behind me, so I focused on keeping a steady pace and not making any BIG mistakes on the wet roots and rocks. More rain came on the final lap. It helped pack the downhill road a bit, but made other areas a bit tricky.

Overall a fun race and I finished 2nd. Best result this year. We'll see if the new Solitude course is also as friendly.

It's been a great race season this year, simply because the top 6 or so riders in our group are all pretty well matched and the time differences are very close. The determining factors are more how good someone is feeling that day and the type of course we are on. Then there's the ever present risk of mechanicals. (just hoping I don't have any) Overall, I'm really enjoying the racing this year.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mid Season Break

So we had a bit of a break for the last few weeks in the ICUP racing series. But this coming Saturday that all changes with the Snowbird race. I would like to say I'm ready for it, but I'm thinking it will depend on alot of variables which I have yet to determine. A. Diet for the reminder of the week - can I avoid the sweets and backyard bbq hamburgers? B. Which bike I ride - The Fly is reliable and known but the new 26 HiFi (even after 30 miles in Park City on Friday) still seems iffy, yet having the suspension would be nice. C. Sleep - I'm getting up early and staying up later than I should because of Le Tour. Can I limit my exposure to what is certainly an addiction and get enough rest or will my weakness hamper my ability to perform well on Saturday.

All shall be answered come Saturday when I show up and try to put the hammer down on the new and improved course at the Bird. I fear that no matter what I do however, Kevin is just too fast this year. I hate to resort sabotoge Kevin, but would you like to come over for a BBQ on Friday night?