Sunday, July 11, 2010

Winter Park #2

Slogged out the second Winter Park Race Saturday.  Race # 3 in the series,  the Valley Point to Point.  Definitely one of the better courses they have,  second only to the King of the Rockies course.  Had been feeling GREAT going into Saturday,  Last few days was all I could do to reign in the desire to hammer it out on the lunch race.  Kept myself in check,  and thought I was all ready & fired up for the fun.

At about 23 miles and 2600 feet for the official description,  this one was going to be a big notch up from the "super Loop" race 2 weeks before.  A nice sting in the tail with the climb up "Sunken Bridges",  just to add a bit of ugly to the 2nd half.

Headed up with "Rock" early,  grabbed number plates,  and Headed over to Kirk's place to have us nearer to the race end at the St. Louis Creek campground.  This would end up being one of the better plans I've had in quite a while,  as it turns out.  Nice day early on,  cool & crisp for the warm up ride over from Fraiser to the Ski area.  Pound one hard warm up up the Mountain road start pitch at full throttle to get the pipes cleaned out for the start,  Hit up my favorite poop-room,  and we were ready.

With us old Sports they lump us in a start group with 50-59 Sport,  18 & under sport and Open 60+.    LOTS of kids on the line this week,  so almost guaranteed a frothy start.  As normal,  the mountain road was nasty.   Can't EVER seem to get going up that thing at the start.      By the 10th pedal stroke,  my right quad even felt like it was in some "micro-cramping" mode.  Great way to start.  Got up to the trees in much better shape than last week,  in contact with the group,  and could even see Rock up the road on teh approach.  Course,  I managed to squander the better start by immediately forgetting EVERYTHING I had ever learned about riding a bike downhill.  Missing turns,  bouncing off trees,  stabbing willy nilly at the brakes.   Pretty much a display of bone-headed-ness ensued.   A good self talking to after overshooting a turn into the road halfway down managed to recover a bit of my skills,  and I got back on the tail of the group by the tracks.

Up Ice Hill & Blue sky I picked off a couple of folks,  without blowing sky high like last race,  and kept things at a steady tempo to the Vasquez Road.  Held back a bit on the road & the D2/D4 climb,  as visions of Sunken Bridges were dancing in my head.  Hauled back a couple of guys on the descent of WTB & D2.  Caught one of the Roadies we seem to have in the bunch this year.  Great uphill motors,  but not much downhill.  The Whoop-de-do water bars on D2 allow for a LOT of air if you choose.  Lots of fun.

The Roadie and an ICCC guy came up just as we started the Sunken Bridges climb.  They S-L-O-W-L-Y were gapping me off up that climb.  Managed to keep them in sight till almost the top.  As we started down the VERY twisty and technical drop of Iko,  Upper & Lower Zoom,  I was able to quickly get rid of the Roadie,  but never saw the ICCC guy again.  Grind up and over Chainsaw,  then over to the long 3 mile grind up the gentle grind of Flume.

Course,  about the time I crested Chainsaw,  noticed a little "pitter-pat" on my hat.  Look up for the first time & notice a big,  Black cloud & a lovely rain shaft just off to the west.  Oh Boy!  By the time we get over to the rooty pitch up Flume,  everything was nice & greasy.  The race for me was coming down to a race between my legs crapping out and getting to the top of Flume.  Managed to hold on to my pace (sort of..) with 2 guys coming up behind me right at the top.   I think I'd dropped both of them on the last 2 descents,  so to their credit,  they seemed to just wait,  and not jump by me.   Everyone seemed to be a bit worried about getting down a wet,  snotty Creekside trail in one piece.  It WAS nasty,  the big,  half buried rocks were pretty slick,  and it was a bit of pinball coming down.  Even riding pretty conservative with a constant "Don't Crash... Don't Crash... Don't Crash..." going thru my head,  I was able to ride the stalkers off immediately,  and catch 3 or so folks coming down,  but had NO time to look at calfs and see if they were in my bunch or not.

Pulled thru the finish,  then noticed that it was COLD.  Soaking we,  no more race level exertion,  and it was instant hypothermia.  Threw on the arm warmers & vest I had carried from the warmup and we ripped out of the finish headed for Kirk's.  INSTANT leg cramps.  Spent the ride to warmth fighting off cold rain,  nasty headwinds,  and cramps.  Fun.    That Warm shower and soup at Kirk's was a godsend. The boy took good care of us when we arrived,  shivering and chattering.

Ended up with 9th place in the 15 rider field.  NOT in the top half,  and pretty disappointing,  but pretty much were I was the race before,  looking at the repeating riders race to race.  Rock pulled off his 3rd 6th place with a good ride,  about 4 minutes up.  Heart rates coming up well,  hitting the climbs at good efforts better this race compared to last week,  but just can't climb at the pace I need to move up much.  Very strange for me to be holding on on the climbs,  and doing damage on the descents.  Not my historic strength.  Maybe I'm not slowing down as much as some in the "go fast downhill" department.  I'll take what I can get.

This is my Winter Park Series till King of the Rockies.  July 31 & Aug. 14 races are out for me,  with conflicts from doing the Laramie Enduro & our vacation trip to Iceland.  Laramie it the next bog thing.  Hoo Boy!


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