Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jewell Park TT, Swanson STXC and Swanson River City XC Shootout: Race Report(s)

This past weekend was the first of the Nebraska Mountain Bike Psycowpath Series. This year they had a 3 part series. On Saturday they had a Time Trial at Jewell Park, Short Track at Swanson Park and then on Sunday we were back at Swanson to wrap things up with the XC race. I went into the weekend with very low expectations since I knew that my training over the winter had been the worst I've had since I started racing and my fitness was nowhere near where it should be for the start of the season. At this point I was basically still about 1/2 way through my base training and had very little intensity up to this point. On Saturday morning I got to the time trial and started to warm up and was feeling ok. I was a little sluggish at first but started to feel better as time went on. When it was my time to go I was actually thinking that I might put out a respectable time. Then I started. As soon as I hit the first climb I new it was going to be a long 3.5 miles. This course in my opinion is one of the toughest courses in Nebraska. It goes up and up and up and you are constantly encountering 180 degree switchback (that I could not ride for some reason) for most of the course. I had never had to put my foot down as many times as I did in this TT. I also quickly realized that I couldn't climb like I did last year. Climbing was always the strongest part of racing for me but I just had no legs and each climb (which was most of the course) was killing me. I ended up with a time of 21:22. The most frustrating thing for me was that my time last year was 19:03. Here's the pre-race video when I thought I was feeling good:

Jewell Jam TT- Brandon Harpster prerace interview from econojer on Vimeo.

After a little bit of a break for some food and a short drive I was over at Swanson Park to get everything set up for the Swanson STXC. I had only raced 1 short track before and I liked it but after my performance in the morning I was actually very nervous to race this one. After watching all of my teammates race their races it was time for us to get started. Lining up I knew I was in trouble. When the gun went off I raced up and was with the group as we went through the wide open field area and stayed with them for the first lap but after that I just couldn't hold on anymore. I ended up getting spit out of the back and was quicly joined by my teammate John and we settled in and just raced our race the rest of the time trying to go as fast as we could. We were able to turn out sub 3 minute laps for the entire race which was good but I'm sure the leaders were putting out 2 1/2 minute laps. We ended up getting lapped right at the end. On Sunday I was up and feeling very stiff and tired but got things ready and headed back to Bellevue with Ryan. I was going up early so that Ryan could get started in the Marathon race and I wanted get the team area set and ready for everyone else. After the Marathon race got started I hung out and caught up with some of the guys I hadn't seen for a while and then kitted up to go get a little trail time in to warm up. When we lined up to get started I knew that I wasn't going to do well. I just didn't feel it. When the gun went off I was at the back of the bike right away and when we hit the single track and started up the first climb I couldn't hang on and was seperated from the group. I kept pushing as fast as I could becasue I knew I had a strong group of Cat 2 guys behind me. I ticked off all 5 laps suffering more and more throughout the entire race. By the end I was in a pretty bad place but I finished the race. I was about I was about 37 minutes behind the winner but I guess at least I still finished. This race has definitely reminded me that I still have a lot of work to do still and a long ways to go. Now I'm just focusing on getting in some good training and preparing for the next race. Harp

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