Monday, December 14, 2015

The Ice Weasels Cometh 2015

Picked a good one for my first Ice Weasels. Or for 2015 more like 'El Nino Weasels' or 'T-Shirt Weather Weasels'.  Venue moved to Riverpoint CX park in Warwick RI and it was a balmy 60(ish) degrees on race day.

This is a tough one to recap succinctly.  There was a whole lot of rad stuff going on and I'm not sure I can accurately remember all of it but I'll try. The park and course were excellent.  At least for a rider like me.  All kinds of varied technical terrain, flowy, punchy, two longer runs, sand.  Roadies were probably mad but if you were having a hard time with the course you could just stop in the Danger Zone and grab a beer.  That is the magic of Ice Weasels.

I mean just check this out.

It was apparent early on while I was spectating that while the course was super fun it was also pretty brutal at race pace.  Watching the Beginner races and the Killer B's everyone was coming through looking pretty shredded after just 1-2 laps.  The beer started flowing pretty early and the central portion of the woods section AKA The Danger Zone slowly ramped up in heckle intensity as the day progressed.  By the time I was racing in the SS race it was fully blown keg party in the woods.

I hadn't really decided if I was going to truly "race" this race or just sort of ride hard for a bit and then take advantage of the unique atmosphere.  It felt like there was a pretty solid 50/50 split in most of the races between folks actually racing and folks just having a good time.  I figured the SS race would probably have a ratio leaning more towards fun / drunk with it being the last race of the day and I certainly didn't want to be the only bro actually trying to go fast when everyone else was having fun.  Figured I ride hard for lap 1 and if things were going well and folks were racing around me I'd continue to ride hard.  If I wasn't feeling it...DANGER ZONE.

entrance to the #dangerzone

I also realized I had a great opportunity with the strength of the field and the chance that most of that strength was tired and getting drunk to get a decent result and lower my points a ton.  After my Cat 3 upgrade denial I have changed my goal to having the lowest points of any Cat 4 ever (or at least in New England). I got a second row start so I figured I might as well give it one really good hot lap and see where I shake out.

Got a decent kick off the line but got jammed up in the 2nd corner and lost a bunch of spots but probably still top 15.  Made a few passes here and there before getting to the true gnar portion of the course and found myself in a small group with Tyler Knapp and Scott Rosenthal who are typically stronger than me so I was content to settle in there and see how things went.  There was a bit of jockeying and trading spots here and there and I was anticipating getting dropped coming through the field on lap 2.  But I was able to get in the wheels and hang in.  I was farther up than I had thought was possible so it felt like I should probably race this and see where it goes.

I awp'd that log ALL DAY

Lap 2 was similar we were already catching traffic so there was some recovery on offer.  I was feeling like I could ride some of the chutes and techy spots a bit faster than the group if I had room so I tried to start to find spots to put pressure on.  The runs were the easiest spots.  They were both pretty long and they favor me.  I don't really remember where the gap really opened up but I came through for a pull just before the pump track section and I figured I should try to shred those next few features to see if I could get some room while I had a clear shot.  Starting there it was pump track, chute, sandy hill run, chute, danger zone, flat sand section, granite stairs run.  I don't know what happened behind me but I rode it all cleanly and had gotten away.

Did I mention Tyler was in a hot dog suit?

I also picked up some sort of weird clicking sound that was bugging me but didn't seem to be affecting the bikes functionality so I continued on.  Traffic had worked itself out for the most part by this point so my final laps were just shredding and trying not to crash.  I believe this was right about when the fireworks started getting set of.  I think I just missed getting to ride through them.  The party in the danger zone was enticing, what with a New Orleans brass band and all, but I figured I was probably very close to top 10 so I wanted to push on.

here's my clicking sound. rode 2 laps like this lolz

They cut our race at 4 laps, a bit short but there was probably daylight and party getting out of hand concerns.  I ended up with a surprising 9th but considering I was taking things a bit more seriously than many others I'm not going to let it go to my head.  But crossresults doesn't take the party into account so I scored some really rad points to provide a huge first step towards my goal.  I am now a Cat 4 with 362 crossresults points!  Woo!

I must say I get all the hype and accolades now.  Ice Weasels is super condensed no rules #necx all jammed into a single day.  And its pretty amazeballs.