Sunday, September 21, 2008

Capital City MTB Challenge: Race Report

Back to a real post again. It's been a busy week. Finals Week at the college is always hectic added in with a dose of being busy at Arborlinks means I barely have any time to ride or do anything else.

The race. The race this week was my 2nd to last race of the year. On Friday when I went out for a ride and felt awesome. I was hoping it would carry over to the race. When I woke up on I felt like I had a cold coming on. I was coughing up some gunk and just didn't feel right. I took some alka seltzer cold and cough medicine cause it works and doesn't make me feel weird. After a little bit it started to work and I loaded up my car and took off.

I got to the race site early and chatted with a few friends that were getting ready to do their race and then geared up and did a couple of laps on the course to see how it was. This is a shorter course than were used to. Most of them seem to average around 5 miles. This one was just under 3. The course was in perfect shape for racing. I liked the set up for xc racing of doing more laps on a shorter course.

When race time came I was feeling good but was still in the back of my mind worried a bit about how my stomach was going to feel and what was going on with this cold I had coming on and if it was going to affect me at all.

To start the race we had a 1 mile gravel road section before dumping into the singletrack. This was nice cause it spread out the group. When the gun went off I had a good jump and was heading up the gravel hill in first place. Right before the singletrack a guy jumped in front of me and entered the track ahead of me. He shot off and I was chasing him for most of the first 3 laps. My goal was to keep the leader in sight and try to hope I was in better shape and could catch him in the end. On lap 2 and 3 I was feeling really good and was flowing through the track well. Then right after I got past the start/finish line to start my 4th lap and I felt that my rear tire was squishy and going flat. At this time I started to freak out. The pesimist in me started having the thoughts of my race is over and I'm screwed. I was afraid that if I stopped and tried to change it I would never catch back up but what else was I going to do. I went through about 3/4 of my lap trying to figure out what to do. I got to a section of the course where we crossed a dirt road and I pulled off to the side and started to change it. I took off the rear tire and then realized that I may be able to get bye just putting air in it and hoping it holds. When I was trying to fix my tire Ryan came over and gave me a hand holding my bike up and helped held my stuff while I was all thumbs trying to get it together.

After I got going again I was really pushing it trying to get back some of what I lost. When I was off the bike I was passed my about 10 riders. I made it through most of the lap with the tire staying somewhat inflated. At the same spot I stopped earlier Ryan met me and I put another co2 into my tire and was off to finish the race.

I started chasing the rabbits and got some more spots back. The bad thing was I had no idea what lap I was on. I was so flustered by my tire that I couldn't remember so I asked a guy I caught up to and he told me it was his last lap so then I really bolted and pushed it till the end. The tire held. At that point I had no idea where I finished. I was pretty disappointed that I had felt good but something like a flat tire took me out of a race.

When the results where posted I was shocked to see that I had finished in second place. I didn't see what the split was to the 1st place finished but with all that happened I was pretty happy with the 2nd place finish. One of my major goals for the season was to finish on the podium once so I got that out of the way.

Again a huge thanks to Ryan for the support during my tire work. It was a huge help just having someone there to help.

Here's some pics and a video I took during my warm ups and the early race.

Ryan getting the bike prepped to race
Some sampling of the track
Towards the end we had this tall mowed feel to sprint through.A nice section of double track
Number 241 for the day
Rob during the race.

Turn your head sideways I was holding my camera wrong.



Bluenoser said...

Podium with a flat. Impressive.


Anonymous said...

Nice race. Now, what worlds are left for you to conquer?


Bruce Brown said...

Great race, Brandon. After talking with you after the race, I totally forgot we had exchanged blog comments back in April after you finished one spot ahead of me at Maskenthine. Well, here we are 5 months later, and we had the same finish between the three of us.

April 5th, 2008:

6 Andrew Keffer Omaha, NE
8 Brandon Harpster Lincoln, NE
9 Bruce Brown Indianola, IA

September 20th, 2008:

1 Andrew Keffer
2 Brandon Harpster
3 Bruce Brown

Anyway, I'm glad the rear tire didn't take you out of the race and you were able to finish strong. Maybe I should have told you I was only on my 3rd lap when I passed you. ;-)

Hope to see you at Lake Manawa this weekend. Flat and fast is what it will be with a lot of racers since it is a combined Psycowpath and Iowa Mountain Biking Championship Series race.