Sunday, March 16, 2008

Panama Enduro Race Report

What was I thinking yesterday. I have to chalk it up to pre-first race jitters. I did decide to do the race today and I totally made the right decision. It ended up being about 40 degrees at the start of the race and overcast. We got pretty lucky while we were inside after the race it started snowing a little and then rained, nothing major but I was glad it happened afterward instead of during. The wind was blowing at a stiff 15-20 mph which made parts of the race pretty rough.

So here's how the race went:
The course ended up being pretty much a 26 mile gravel grinder. I started off mid pack in the rolling start and got myself up to towards the front of the pack but did not want to push it to much to early. My goal was to keep the leaders in sight and get them towards the finish. I broke away from most of the other riders and spent most of the race riding along with pretty much one other guy trading places with him back and forth as we went. I was much stronger on the hills so I would let him sprint off on his own for a while and then pass him on the way up the next hill. I am fortunate to be with him at certain times because he read his map better than I did and I kinda used him to keep on course. That really was my only complaint with how the race was run was that there were only about 6 turns and I thought that they could have marked the course a bit better but it was still good for early in the season. Anyways I spent most of the race fighting the wind. There was only about 7 miles when we had the winds at our back and the biggest section of the race was straight into it. During the sections when it was on my sides I had to have the bike tipped pretty far over to keep upright but I think I managed ok. Luckily the last section of the race was when the wind was at our back. By this time some of the other riders were starting to drop. The guy I was with for a while fell way back and I started chasing and picking off the rabbits in front of me. When we made the final turn in to town I had a guy attack and I pulled in front of him to the finish but he pulled a fast on one me. To check in to post our times we had to drop our bikes and head inside this building to turn in our slips we were stamping at the check points throughout the course. When we headed to the building I went through the cones that were out on my bike and he cut through some cars and beat me to the door by about .5 seconds. He got his card in before me but we still finished with pretty much the same time give or take a few seconds. I finished with a estimated time of 1 hour 49 minutes.

I think overall I finished fifth in the male solo category. They only announced the top three after the race and didn't post up the times. The guys that finished before me are some of the expert riders I saw at some of the other races and they've been doing this way longer than me. I felt good with how I raced and I can see some improvement from last season. I still have a ways to go before I get to where I want to be but improvement is something I will take.

I definitely made the right decision putting on the pythons before the race. They kicked ass and they will be highly recommended at the bike shop for people that want to upgrade tires. They rolled fast on the gravel and I really noticed it on the section of the course that was on paved road.

Speaking of the bike shop it is the coolest part time job I could have. I'm having a great time talking to the customers and setting them up with the right bike. I am doing pretty good with bike sales yesterday I sold 4 Marins. I didn't think much of it but everyone else there says that awesome for a guy that's only worked 3 days. I think I'm selling the bikes pretty much on enthusiasm alone. I super stoked on Marin bikes and I think it showing with the people when I talk to them about it.

Alright I think that's enough I think this is the longest post I've ever done. By the way Thanks B for encouraging me to race. I figured you'd give me shit if I wimped out cause of the weather. Now it's time to drink some coffee, watch stage 7 of Paris-Nice I taped earlier and relax and start the recovery process. I think I'm going to feel it tomorrow. Here's the only pick I took today. My bike is standing up on the tree in the middle. I found if you finish towards the beginning your bike gets a primo parking spot.



Bluenoser said...

Way to go Harp. Fighting wind on your own sucks in a race so you did well.


millhouse said...

Nice job. It's a good thing you shaved otherwise the wind would really have been a problem :). What class are you racing in the psycowpath series again?

crewcabrob said...

Great job Harp! Sounds like your training this winter paid off. Looks like you may be the one to beat in the open mens beginner class.