Sunday, September 28, 2008

Manawa MTB Mayhem: Race Report

Photo courtesy of Tom Winfeld
Well it finally came. The last race of the season. I went to the race still fighting the cold that I've had all week but feeling ok. I got there early enough (thanks to Rob who I was lucky enough to run into on the interstate so I could follow him in since I get lost rather easily) that I had time to relax talk with some of the guys getting to race in the early race and still have plenty of time to get ready, register and head out for a nice warm up lap to check out the course.

This was the first time I had ridden the course before. I've heard the Omaha guys talk about riding it and all I had heard was that it was flat. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the course being flat was still fairly technical with lots of twisty singletrack with a good mix of log and a few rock crossings. The course ended up being about 6 miles per lap.

When it was time to get going I was anxious to get started. We had a long roll out on a paved road before we hit the trail. I got a fairly good start and once we got to the trail I went into the trail in 3rd place. I got passed shortly after by the eventual winner and then I went around one of the riders in front of me and I sat in third place for most of the lap. Some of the more technical sections really threw me off. I can get through them fine but I need spend more time going through them fast. I lost a bit of ground on the 2 leaders during one section with a lot of log crossings. About 2/3rd the way through I got passed which put me in 4th position. It was on a pretty long straight section and I kind of just cracked while I tried to get my legs back. After that I was hanging around the 3rd place rider. I could keep him in sight which is key for me. Towards the end of the 1st lap I leaned two far into one tight turn and smacked my head pretty hard into a tree. I saw black for a second but I kept my bike up and kept on moving after clearing my head. On the start of the 2nd lap I just kept trying to push a bit and catch the 3rd place rider. About 1/2 way through I caught up to him and was on his wheel when the race was stopped.

The race was stopped cause of a rider that went down and was seriously hurt. He hit a tree and wasn't able to feel parts of his body. The rider had had neck injuries before from something else. It was just scary to all of the sudden be racing and then run into people going the wrong direction telling you to turn around and head out. From what I've heard he is doing well and getting better.
After we waited about 45 minutes for the rider to be taken away by rescue squad they had us come back together at the start line and sent us off in the order that we came through when we finished our first lap. They had us enter in a different section of the course about 2/3 rd's the way through. The restart was not good for me. It took me a while to get my legs warmed back up and get back to racing again. I started right behind the 3rd place guy but was having some issues with some tight turns and in the section where I hit my head earlier I wasn't feeling confident and not going through the turns very fast. All I could see was the rider in front of me pulling away. I then hit the ground when I moved my head to far cause again I was worried about hitting a tree and lost control of my bike. Nothing was hurt but I just wasn't in good form.

After I crossed the finish line on my second lap I was starting to feel a bit more confident again and I was finally warmed back up. At that point I really started to move and really started feeling good. Actually it was the best I've felt on a bike during a race all season. I felt strong and fast. About 1/2 way through the lap I passed the third place rider and kept on moving. I passed several other riders that were in front of me. Towards the end in the distance I could see the second place rider and was pushing to catch him. I was surprised cause I new earlier he was riding well. I really started to push it to catch him but I got caught up with another rider then hit my head in the same spot as I did in the first lap and then I just ran out of time. I finished about 5 seconds after he did. If the race had been a hundred yards more I think I would have had him.

In the end I finished in 3rd place. I'll definitely take it. Two podium spots in two weeks is a good way to end the season and a nice birthday present.

Here's a video of the start of the beginners race. Congrats to Ryan for the second place finish.



Redbone said...

Congrats on the 3rd place finish. Not a bad way to end the season.

Bluenoser said...

Holy crap. Two head smacks a stop to the race and you still finished on the podium?

Way to go. Now come up here next year and train ,write and cook.


Judi said...

Congrats on 3rd!