So I made the trip down to Independence MO for the KC Cup XC race at Landahl Park Reserve. The whole family made this trip with me which was a nice change to be able to race and still spend some time with the kids. We started out pretty early in the morning. Well to me it wasn't to early but for everyone else 5:45 is a time they don't see to often. We hit the road for the 3 hour drive to the race. It took a bit longer than we expected. Missing the turn to the park didn't help but by the time I got there and registered, changed and ready I didn't ahve enough time for a full pre lap ride. That was the first lesson learned. This course was a lot more technical than I thought and had a lot more rocks than expected and not knowing going into the race hurt me a bit.
When the horn blew and we started off it was a wide double track and I got myself into a good position about 5 th back from the leader and in a tight pack. The only problem was that my stomach was already beginning to bother me. Once we hit the first rock section the guys in third and forth place didn't make and stopped right in front of me and I hit them and went off the track down the rocks and was laying on my back with my feet still clipped in with my bike on top of me. I was all tangled in my bike and could just see everyone going past. By the time I got back up and on my bike I think I was in last place or damn near it.
As I continued on through the lap I just kept trying to get through it but I was having major stomach issues. I felt like shit and wanted to barf. I was also having some problems with the course. Not knowing what to expect was really having an effect. I never knew what to expect and was always surprised by what came next. It also seemed like my handlebars where to wide and I had a couple run-ins with trees in tight sections of the track one time nailing my shoulder into it(pretty sore today). Towards the end of the lap I had a pretty big spill on a slick rocky section and banged up my left leg pretty good. My right leg was already hurting from the earlier crash. By the end of the first lap I was in a pretty bad place both physically and mentally. I was getting my ass kicked by the other riders and the course and I had a few thoughts of packing it in but I kept going I wasn't going to drive all that way and wuss out.
At the start of the second lap I waz still hurting and my stomach was still an issue but I started up the first climb (the first half of the course was pretty much up and the second half down) and as I was going I slowly started to feel better and could feel myself pushing harder and moving faster. By the half way point I was feeling pretty good and was picking up speed and starting to chase down the rabbits. At that point I was having a lot more fun and was really enjoying the more challenging course. The third lap went much like the second and I pulled back a few riders for a mid pack finish. After the race I looked at the times and saw that my third lap was the fastest of the 3.
What I really need to work on is how to feel as good at the beginning of the race as I do at the end. The first big focus right now is figuring out what to eat and when before a race so I can get rid of the stomach issues. They are really slowing me down. I've already started talking to the 2 dieticians I work with and I'm pretty confident we can straighten it out. My wife thinks I may be eating to much and or it might be nerves I'm not sure but maybe I am a bit to vervous at the beginningof a race and that' part of the stomach issues. Also I need to spend more time riding on more technical singel track with more rocks, roots and obsticales. I can ride over these things no problem but I need to be able to do it faster.
Overall it was a good race. I learned a few things from it and it made me think hard about what I need to do to improve. Here's a few pics from the trip no picture racing. There was a guy on the course but I don't know who he was and where I can find the pics. Later.
The kids not liking the early morning.
My son in my gear and bike before the race.
The bike after a rough race. It performed amazingly well again.