Anyway, I digress...
SO headed up the hill to Winter Park on Saturday. Given how lousy I've been feeling on the bike most days lately, the only thing that kept going thru my head was.. "Really??..." Over & over. I was really going to race? Rick got sick of me repeating that over & over on the ride up... Really? Right up to the 5 second call, it was in my head. Really?
Well, I really did end up pushing off with the herd anyway. As usual the hump up the start road was it's hellish self. I immediately had to force myself to back off, as my lack of intensity so far this year reared it's head after about 45 seconds of the mistaken thought that I could stay in the main bunch. Quickly slid back into the 3rd bunch, and as we got up to the road switchbacks, I even tailed off that group a bit. Off to a GREAT start, 50 meters back from the "bunch" going into the trees. It was then that what came to be the theme for the day started. I IMMEDIATELY bridged back into and partly thru the bunch. Nobody could go downhill. I seldom pass many people on fast descents, but was going by 3-4 on the first drop. Put me right back in the thick of it for the second climb up Ice Hill & the double track beyond. With my feelings mended by getting back in the bunch so soon, I immediately squandered it by passing 5 guys in a flash, and less than a minute later realizing I was WAY over my limit. This of course led to most of them going right back by me, and looking at me like I was a dolt, which I was.
Realizing I needed to tone it down, race at MY pace, and quit trying to pop everyone else in sight with the total lack of real fitness I have, I was able to SLOWLY start picking folks off again, at a bit more leisurely tempo this time. With a LOT of trees down in the WTB area, this race had been put on a new course, not getting North of the Vasquez road this year. Sadly, that left about 5 miles of dirt road for this race. Up Vasquez, Back on the water board road. Flat. Fast. Road-Race-like. yuk. Course this ends with a climb back up the back of the ski area. Never really got out of a bunch of people in this whole section. ended up hitting the top of the last climb in a bit of a herd.
The Long Trail seems to have been totally "new waved" since the ski area made it into downhill only. Lots of SWEET, big bermed sweeping 180 degree turns. The berms were great, stuff the bike hard into the outside rim and snap around it. Still, was seeing the same thing that marked the day. Not many people were railing the descent. Passed one guy in the middle of one of the bermed turns, since he was down on the flat inside, poking around the bend, and 3 of us just baked by him up on the berm. Got by a few folks, but was still in a herd as we dropped into Lower Arapahoe. It's Narrow & twisty drop seemed to really get to some people, as we immediately got into a yo-yoing line of about 15 people, all held up one one guy. HE eventually relented to the howling from behind, and stopped right in the apex of one of the narrow tight switchbacks to "let everyone by". After THAT yelling subsided, we finished the descent in the same manner. Only had 2 guys want around me, and passed 5-6 more going down. With great relief, I hit the finish road with no one around, so there would be none of that "sprinting" nonsense.
Ended up in 8th place in a 17 rider field. 2 minutes behind Rick in 6th. The New course had a bit too much road in it to be really fun. I was able to ride better than I expected given the way I've been feeling, and having moved back up to sport after my "sandbag" year last year. Heart rates not getting as high as last years cross season, but seem to be putting out about the same or more juice, given my finish & higher category. Not as far off of real race fitness as I thought. Can start some limited intensity, till after Laramie, then hit the hard stuff.
|Place||Number||Name||Age||Sponsor or Hometown||Time||Pace||Sex||Overall|
|1||507||MICHAEL SCHAUB||51||GREEN MOUNTAIN SPORTS RACING||1:38:36.8||5:26.9||167||170|
|2||504||HAL MCKELVY||51||CHRISTIAN CYCLING.COM||1:41:14.7||5:35.6||196||201|
|4||5070||ERIC HOUCK||52||ECHLELON ENERGY||1:49:20.1||6:02.4||288||304|
|5||508||MAKEY TOWNE||52||TEAM EVERGREEN RACING CINDER||1:52:03.1||6:11.4||300||324|
|6||5060||RICK THOMPSON||53||HIGH PEAKS MASTERS||1:52:47.3||6:13.9||303||328|
|7||557||PETE FENNELL||52||TEAM EVERGREEN RACING DENIM||1:53:59.4||6:17.9||311||336|
|8||5100||DALE RILEY||50||CYCLISTS FOR THE PLANET||1:54:41.8||6:20.2||315||343|
|9||585||PHIL MURRAY||50||BLUE SKY VELO TEAM BLUE||1:56:11.6||6:25.2||317||346|
|10||5078||NED SMITH||54||FORT COLLINS CYCLING TEAM||1:56:47.2||6:27.1||321||352|
|11||591||ROBERT J QUINN||50||GCC||1:57:03.1||6:28.0||322||353|
|13||5081||STEVEN NOEL||54||BOULDER, CO||1:59:23.9||6:35.8||333||369|
|14||568||MICHAEL BUZZ HARNISH||54||TEAM EVERGREEN RACING BROWN||2:01:46.5||6:43.7||338||375|
|15||5005||MICHAEL STARITA||52||ROCKY MOUNTAIN RACING||2:01:47.6||6:43.7||339||376|
|17||5101||GREG ERNEST||53||BROOMFIELD, CO||3:05:36.0||10:15.2||360||414|
Biggest thought was still the amazing lack of downhill ability in the sport bunch yesterday. Rick note the same thing. LOTS of guys going down pretty slow. While I've never been a "Descender" by any means, I've never made that many downhill passes in any race before. Not sure if it's just a bunch of roadies crossing over, or what, but it was VERY noticeable yesterday.
Glad to get that first race out of the way. going in with NO expectations and the "Really ??" attitude was good. No anxiety in the race AM. Was so relaxed I only had to go poo twice at the venue before the race. Amazing. Mid field finish on no real intensity in my training so far this year feels good. Going to want to hit a couple more of the Winter Park races.