Monday, June 1, 2009

Bear Brook Blast Off NECS '09 #2

Struggling economy? Sunday's turnout would make you think otherwise. I haven't seen that many people at a NECS race since I started consistently racing the series 3 years ago or so. It was great to see, must have been hundreds of people there.

And man was it nice to only have to drive 30-40mins to the venue. I can get used to that. The start/finish area was already bumping when I arrived. Festival like atmosphere, with everyone suiting up and riding around sizing up the competition. I saw a few familiar faces from the SS class the last few years but also a lot of new faces.

When we finally lined up I would say there were in the area of 20 SS'ers. We set off after all the other Expert fields and things quickly split into 2 groups. A group of 10 or so 'mashers' got off the front within the first 100yds or so and I was leading the second group of 'spinners' maybe 10-20ft behind heading into the singletrack. The mashers slowly disappeared turning those big gears at full bore (not sure how they do it). I kept my position heading into the first technical singletrack climb, but that climb brought me to my limit and as I tried to recover after dumping out onto the first double track I lost a few places. I was probably sitting about 12-13th at this point and would remain there for most of the race.

Me lurking in the background as we caught some of the Expert Women, as you can see I'm really trying to get in her draft for the slingshot. Shake and Bake!

This was the first time in my experience racing SS bikes that I wish I had a bigger gear. I have never gotten into messing with my ratio based on a race course, I have always just run the 32-20. Usually that would work for me and my fitness would be the limiting factor before I would feel like a bigger gear would have been necesary. But I guess I am happy to say that I think I could have done much better at this race if I had been running a bigger gear maybe 32-18 or so. There were just one too many stretches of flat double track where I was spinning at 130rpm wanting to go faster but not having the gear to do so. All told I probably lost 5-10 mins on some of my competitors because they could get a few mph more on those sections and there weren't enough climbs where I could make up the difference.

Even though I was running my baby gear I still rode as hard as I could and I felt like I managed my nutrition well and I did catch up to a few of the SS'ers who passed me early on. I caught the first on a longer descent, he overcooked a turn and I stopped using my brakes to try and gain as much gap as I could (this was scary and pretty damn fun). I was starting to run into some traffic at this point as well. I never used to have to deal with traffic while racing, but as my fitness improves and I am in the thick of things I am going to have to get better at dealing with passing at speed.

After the final lap point there was a longish haul back to the finish. I got into a pace line of faster sport riders and just hit the gas and gave it everything I had, trying to keep the guy I passed at bay and I was pretty sure there was another SS'er not too far up ahead. I was digging really deep at this point, quads were starting to cramp, I thought the finish was a bit closer than what it ended up being. Unfortunately at my level of exertion all the blood was going to my legs and none was getting to my brain and I totally flew right past a hard left hander into the woods for the last little section of singletrack. I had to lock up the brakes, turn around and get back going. Just as I jumped into the woods after missing the turn I saw that other SS racer about 20-30ft up ahead...if I had made that turn I would no doubt have caught him with my momentum and probably been able to hold him off to the finish. But I had lost that momentum and with my legs on the border of cramping I couldn't close the gap and he ended up finishing 10secs ahead of me.

Finished the 24 mile course just under 2.5 hrs and results were prelim but it looks like I ended up with 12th out of 20 or so starters. No series points but I was pleased with my race, it actually felt like racing instead of a solid DFL 20 mins behind the rest of the SS'ers. I loved the course, even though it had a lot of double track hauls, the singletrack was in great shape and some of the descents were perfect...technical but fast. I'll post up official results once I get them...and here they are:
1 158 GREG BURBIDGE 2:06:18 200
2 155 GEORGE LAPIERRE 2:07:39 190
3 167 RYAN LITTLEFIELD 2:11:02 178
4 151 WILL CRISSMAN 2:13:17 164
5 164 NOLAN WATTS 2:15:50 148
6 159 COLLIN GALLOWAY 2:15:53 130
7 157 BRAD BEVERIDGE 2:19:53 110
8 165 SCOTT ROSENTHAL 2:19:54 88
9 166 CHRIS GENDRON 2:25:11 64
10 163 DAVE HARKLESS 2:26:13 38
11 168 ERIC MASSA 2:27:06 0
12 152 KEVIN ORLOWSKI 2:27:16 0
13 160 GRAHAM DINMOCK 2:27:48 0
14 156 ALAN FOREY 2:34:34 0
15 150 MATTEO MOLLER 2:39:32 0
16 153 PETER TAMPOSI 2:43:30 0
17 154 DAVID SHEDD 2:54:58 0
18 169 PAIGE ROWNTREE 3:07:16 0


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