photo coursesy of Jeremy Cook
Saturday Cat 3/4
photo courtesy of Jeremy Cook
When it was time to line up I got there close to start time and ended up lining up in the back. No big deal since I wasn't feeling great anyways. When the gun went off I got myself right into the middle but shortly after the start they had the first double barrier section and I hit the barriers fine but on the remount I somehow caught my thumb on my handlebars and almost fell over my bike. I managed not to fall but was now way behind and my thumb hurt when I held onto the hoods so I was in great shape at the beginning of the race. As the race continued I caught up to the lead pack but I was really struggling and I knew it was only a matter of time before I popped. After 2 laps I exploded and told myself it was now about surviving instead of really being competitive.
The worst and hardest part of the race was the popular hooligans hill. They had a barrier at the bottom of it to keep people from riding up it. I quickly realized after the first time up it that it was going to kill me. It was steep and I need to learn the to shoulder my bike instead of pushing it up it like I did (something to improve on before next year). By the time the race was over I was in the mid pack and happy with that since the legs felt horrible.
On Sunday I felt much better. Which I'm figuring out is kind of common for me. I tend to feel better if I got some racing in me the day before. I rode over in the morning to watch the earlier races and then was able to warm up with Teammate Sean before the we lined up.
The course on Sunday was run backwards and it suited me a lot better. Instead of hitting a barrier section right away we had a long road leadout and then hit the course. I was up with the leaders after the gun went off and I was right up front with the leaders. As the race went on I traded places with other riders and was sitting in about the top 5 most of the race.
On the last 3 laps the two riders that were behind me were working together and were able to close down some space on the long road sections and I was starting to slow down some and I knew in the back of my mind that I had another race that was for a state chamionship 15 minutes after this one so when the 2 riders caught me I stayed with them for a while but decided to shut it down and just finish were I was and save some for the next race. I finished in 7th place overall were I think if I really would have pushed it I could have gotten up a few places higher.
Sunday Cat 4
So after my 15 minute recovery session where I just went to the bathroom, downed a bottle of hammer heed and a gel and then went back out to line up for the next race. I lined up next to one of my friends and mtb rival Dale who also raced the previous race and we both kind of looked at each other and said "why".
When the gun went off about 7 of us sprinted to the front on the long road section and I hit the course in the middle of the pack. I stayed in the pack in the middle through most of the lap but when we got to a long flowing section I could tell that I was a mountian biker in the middle of a group of roadies and was able to drop the hammer and get up right behind the two leaders. When they had trouble with a tricky turn I was able to get around them and was in the lead though the barriers and through the start finish line. On the long road section I could start to feel my fatigue set in from the earlier race and I slowed down some and I looked back and saw a whole train of riders letting me lead them through the wind. When we hit the course I was passed by the entire field who had the nice benefit of drafting off me. This was the last time I saw the front of the race.
As the race continued I started to pick up the pace and was really able to use my mtb skills and pick off the riders that were struggling with the technical aspects of the course. Towards the start finish line I saw Dale was the leader and I knew I wasn't going to be able to catch him but the 2nd place rider wasn't that far in front of me so I started chasing him on the last lap. I was closing down the gap but wasn't able to make it up. I finished the race about 4 seconds behind the 2nd place rider and 2nd in Nebraska for the state championship.
In the end I was somewhat happy with the results from the weekend. It was a good way to end the race season for 2009.