Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ice Weassels Race Report

What a great day for a race! Low thirties, windy and sunny!
Here in MHD we had a lot of rain last week and while I was aware that it snowed in other parts of New England I was still surprised to a see a very snowy course at White Barn Farm.

Did I mention it was cold? I watched the single speeds rip through for a few minutes and decided I had to put more clothes on slash but on my bike gear and warm up.

But what to wear, that to wear. For ski racing I had the formula pretty well figure out; peter heater, long underwear and Uni. And that was usually in 20 degree weather. It wasn't that cold. But usually the cold feels colder when you're biking. Plus it was windy and it wasn't a real high HR course because of all the technical sections. So I was thinking about going with the heavier tights.

But after jumping on a trainer in front of the barn, sweating in the sun and taking stock of what everyone else was wearing (Go peer pressure!) I decided that shorts and leg warmers would be enough for the race. Good call.

Colin heckled me for for having a Clif-Shot taped to my stem Tri style for a 60 minute race in 30 degree weather. (who's laughing now Colin! ha!... [although frozen gel in considerably harder to squeeze out I learned])

I got a Pro tip from Jon Shea to run the field at the start of the race and pass a lot of people. This sounded like a great idea at the time and a great idea when I was standing to the side of the back row at the start. (Plus Colin looked prepared to do the same, peer influence!) But it quickly fizzled into a stupid idea when I realized that there was no way for me to put my bike down in the sugar soft snow and then work into one of the traveling lanes.
...So, I just ran into the traveling lane, put my bike down and had a miserable remount stacking up the field behind me, making friends no doubt. Stupid Triathlete.

Any who it did get me pretty far up the field!

The next lap consisted of trying to pass in the corners and rip past people on the barriers. Pro tip: Bunny-hop the barriers. Wayyyyyyy faster.

When I procrastonated signing up last week I saw that prize money only went 5 deep. [Correction, 8 deep] Sigh. It'll be fun to race though. So, imagine my surprise when I was tailgunning the lead group. I continued to make questionable passes and curse myself for not changing my rear shifter after last race's debacle. I had to hit it again for it to work, and then it'd shift up one gear if I was not Pro. I even have an extra shifter. Stupid.

So when I came to the long starting straightaway I barely managed to stay in contact on the first lap, but tagged back in when the group accordioned into the 180 before the descent. Onto the old rail trail and a hard right into the run-up. For being only a five foot run-up it was pretty damn gnarley. It was icy, and you carried a lot of speed coming through the hard 90 right hand turn.

I put a move on a couple people on the remount and the subsequent 180. Dodged a fallen Geekhouse ride and grabbed a wheel into the first of the short barriers. Hopped it and passed two riders there. I caught the tape on the next corner and nearly lost the progress gained on the barrier. Ripped it through the berm and caught up to Kurt Perham on the next barrier (give you a hint...he ran it.) Tailed him into the double barriers and passed him on the remount, boo yah!

Being only the second quick lap of an hour long race I was totally worried that I was giving to much too soon. But didn't feel too anaerobic so kept it going. I did the rest of the second lap wondering whether I was going to get caught and looking over my shoulder.
Then it was time to come back into the barriers and I caught up to Alec Donahue who, you guessed it, was running the barriers.

I followed him for the next couple of laps, but carried enough speed into the barriers that I overtook him without thinking much about the up coming power/straight section.
Actually I thought I could put enough time on him in the barriers and the rest of the technical stuff that he wouldn't be able to catch me down the straights.
And this may have been the case if I didn't wipeout hard after the second barrier. I still got back up in the lead, which kind of gives you an idea of how much time I had gained. But it was a hard fall, and my face was scuffed and my knees and fingertips hurt.

Right as planned I led through the rest of the technical snow stuff and then got dusted by Donahue once it opened up. It wasn't even funny. Four weeks of detraining and a season of long endurance work doesn't make for much of a power producer.
But I manged to bridge back up for the last time on the next set of barriers. I held on for a few laps then overtook Donahue for the last time without being able to put distance between us before the straight.

Then it was game over. I tried to hook back on but couldn't do so quickly enough and resigned to second place.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I did a bit of stupid racing in there. I had no right to pass Donahue the second time and if I was smart I would have just sat behind him until the last lap and then put time on him over the low barriers. Up until that point it would have been him dusting me and me trying to catch back up in the tech section. Alas, twas not to be.

Great course, fun venue and ripper crowd.

Couple pics courtesy of DoubleHop and I'll be hopefully editing up handlebar cam footage soon. There are a couple of good crashes and plenty of bunnyhopping!


Colin R said...

Hey! We listed $500/8 deep on the flyer, that's good money!

Thanks for coming out. I am psyched to see your cam -- I sent my bar cam out to Bend w/Linnea so all I had was seat cam. Got covered in mud in under a minute. Wicked bummer.

Damn you rode fast.

Toby said...

Colin, super awesome race, I'm already excited for next year.
Dude, isn't your flip getting trashed collecting that much mud? The sound holes on my face are already all caked in.
I was hoping to bump some elbows with you, but kept hearing your name, dollar, cupcake, beer and feed in the same sentence.

Colin R said...

My flip's speaker holes are full of mud, yeah, but so what? Everything else is still going strong after 2 seasons and ~25 races.