Weeping Willow @ Willowdale....?- Mtbr.com
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    Weeping Willow @ Willowdale....?

    Any info on this year's edition? Course? I assume it is bone dry out there. Other than the bikereg site there I don't see any info...any ideas when course route will be marked? Any Strava pre-ride tracks available?

    Thanks

    edit to title....
    Last edited by wgerow; 05-11-2015 at 09:31 AM.

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    Up down twisty turny not techy. Rinse repeat. Dusty dry.

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    I'm considering entering this - looks like there are still spots open. It would be my first race (male, 19-29).

    As a newbie, should I just default to the novice category? 8 miles seems really short, and I want to do the longer ride in Sport, but I'm worried my lack of racing experience might result in an embarrassing finish. Anyone wiser than me out there have an opinion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    I'm considering entering this - looks like there are still spots open. It would be my first race (male, 19-29).

    As a newbie, should I just default to the novice category? 8 miles seems really short, and I want to do the longer ride in Sport, but I'm worried my lack of racing experience might result in an embarrassing finish. Anyone wiser than me out there have an opinion?
    If you think 8 miles is short and have decent fitness I wouldn't be worried about getting embarrassed. You will probably do fine. Just start on the rear and as peopel blow up you can pass them

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    Quote Originally Posted by wgerow View Post
    If you think 8 miles is short and have decent fitness I wouldn't be worried about getting embarrassed. You will probably do fine. Just start on the rear and as peopel blow up you can pass them
    Starting at the rear is about the worst advice you could give at a race like this. Once in the one track it can be a chore to pass. Get in the woods as far up as you can and see how things shake out. Passing takes extra effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    Starting at the rear is about the worst advice you could give at a race like this. Once in the one track it can be a chore to pass. Get in the woods as far up as you can and see how things shake out. Passing takes extra effort.
    I couldn't disagree more with you newmarket. This will be this dude's first race. This race is full on bedlam in the beginning on that fire road....bad bad place for someone who has zero race experience........you are just asking for a disaster. The rookie likely gets hurt along with others. Bad advice you are giving in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wgerow View Post
    I couldn't disagree more with you newmarket. This will be this dude's first race. This race is full on bedlam in the beginning on that fire road....bad bad place for someone who has zero race experience........you are just asking for a disaster. The rookie likely gets hurt along with others. Bad advice you are giving in my opinion.
    Kinda funneh that you'd start a TR asking q's about the venue/race when you seem to know quite a bit about it already. You assume it's dry? Have you been outside lately? You'd get sent to high security prison if you even mentioned having a lil bonfire at the family reunion right now, lol!

    Anywho, yo newbie sport, line up near the front end of the pack so that you don't get caught in the $hit show that will inevitably occur when you send off 45 sandbaggers, 15 actual sport class racers, and 17 noobies that could prolly crush most sports and many experts, all at the same time down a fireroad with a bottleneck from heLl into the 1st singletrack. Just fvcking pin it. It's racing. Put yer head down and go for it. You'll be choking dust at the back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    Kinda funneh that you'd start a TR asking q's about the venue/race when you seem to know quite a bit about it already. You assume it's dry? Have you been outside lately? You'd get sent to high security prison if you even mentioned having a lil bonfire at the family reunion right now, lol!

    Anywho, yo newbie sport, line up near the front end of the pack so that you don't get caught in the $hit show that will inevitably occur when you send off 45 sandbaggers, 15 actual sport class racers, and 17 noobies that could prolly crush most sports and many experts, all at the same time down a fireroad with a bottleneck from heLl into the 1st singletrack. Just fvcking pin it. It's racing. Put yer head down and go for it. You'll be choking dust at the back.
    Just like over on TGR you are the resident genius on everything

    As the resident genius please enlighten us on this years course route

    Many thanks

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    Thanks for the tips, guys. I have a lot of concerns with going Sport - fitness isn't one of them, exactly.

    Apart from my debilitating allergies and the race date at the height of pollen season, I've never done more than 7ish miles without a hydration pack. I'll be on a full suspension (light) trial bike (Specialized Camber), with just enough room for a small water bottle in the front triangle. Only 1 bottle cage mount. I'll have a tube and some basic tools under my seat.

    Does anybody know how this race is set up? Is it just 1, 2, or 3 laps of an 8 mile circuit? Will there be aid stations or other opportunities to refuel/swap out bottles?

    I could probably do 8 miles without a bottle (definitely wouldn't want to though), but I'm pretty sure I couldn't do 16 on just 1.

    Then there's the issue of food. People usually wear Jerseys with gu packs in the pockets, right? I don't have any of that stuff (jerseys, etc), and don't feel like blowing hundreds of dollars just so I can race an extra 8 miles.

    Thoughts? And thanks for entertaining my stupid questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgerow View Post
    Just like over on TGR you are the resident genius on everything

    As the resident genius please enlighten us on this years course route

    Many thanks
    It's a secret :-*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    Thanks for the tips, guys. I have a lot of concerns with going Sport - fitness isn't one of them, exactly.

    Apart from my debilitating allergies and the race date at the height of pollen season, I've never done more than 7ish miles without a hydration pack. I'll be on a full suspension (light) trial bike (Specialized Camber), with just enough room for a small water bottle in the front triangle. Only 1 bottle cage mount. I'll have a tube and some basic tools under my seat.

    Does anybody know how this race is set up? Is it just 1, 2, or 3 laps of an 8 mile circuit? Will there be aid stations or other opportunities to refuel/swap out bottles?

    I could probably do 8 miles without a bottle (definitely wouldn't want to though), but I'm pretty sure I couldn't do 16 on just 1.

    Then there's the issue of food. People usually wear Jerseys with gu packs in the pockets, right? I don't have any of that stuff (jerseys, etc), and don't feel like blowing hundreds of dollars just so I can race an extra 8 miles.

    Thoughts? And thanks for entertaining my stupid questions.
    Pro tip-race beginner for this one and see how it goes. It's gonna hurt either way.

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    That's what I'm leaning towards. Probably what I needed to hear. Thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    That's what I'm leaning towards. Probably what I needed to hear. Thanks.
    you'll hava blast. there's nothing like putting a number plate on and riding beyond yerself. makes you such a better and stronger rider. the next time you ride after this race you'll feel so good. careful, it can be addicting. if it becomes an addiction think of all the cool places you'll get to ride where you never normally would

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    you'll hava blast. there's nothing like putting a number plate on and riding beyond yerself. makes you such a better and stronger rider. the next time you ride after this race you'll feel so good. careful, it can be addicting. if it becomes an addiction think of all the cool places you'll get to ride where you never normally would
    Haha I used to say "I'll never race bikes!"

    I grew up ski racing, and when that career finally ended and I started chasing powder, I realized how much fun I'd been missing out on. I don't want that to happen with biking.

    But I figure I gotta try at least one, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    Haha I used to say "I'll never race bikes!"

    I grew up ski racing, and when that career finally ended and I started chasing powder, I realized how much fun I'd been missing out on. I don't want that to happen with biking.

    But I figure I gotta try at least one, right?
    you got it. it's a fun festive scene. mtb racing in ne is hot right now, especially root66/kenda cup. kinda like it was in the early/mid 90's. lots of cool races. nh 100k/100 miler, and bradbury 12 hour are must do's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    you got it. it's a fun festive scene. mtb racing in ne is hot right now, especially root66/kenda cup. kinda like it was in the early/mid 90's. lots of cool races. nh 100k/100 miler, and bradbury 12 hour are must do's.
    Actually my riding buddies are trying to pressure me into the NH100 (kilometer). I'm about to buckle and sign up, but I don't want that to be my first time on a race course. Glad to hear it endorsed by somebody else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    Actually my riding buddies are trying to pressure me into the NH100 (kilometer). I'm about to buckle and sign up, but I don't want that to be my first time on a race course. Glad to hear it endorsed by somebody else.
    do it! the 100k is the way to go as it's one big loop. the hundred miler just adds the beginning of the 100k race to make the extra mileage. boring

    i may do it on my fatbike this year just for the heckovit.

    i haven't raced it since 2008 and even then i hadn't raced at all that summer. off the couch on my full rigid 29er with baggies and a t-shirt to nab the expert vet win. by like 32 minutes

    results here:

    http://hampshire100.com/docs/Results2008.pdf

    just to give you some motivation^^^^^^

    if i do it this year i won't be signing up till the day before. it's just how i roll.

  18. #18
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    I race with a hydration pack. Just saying
    Owner of JRA Cycles, Medford Ma.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian jra View Post
    I race with a hydration pack. Just saying
    me too. always. i'd never be able to grab bottle with my eyeballs falling out of my head and my bike banging and chattering thru the woods.

    just went onto the nh 100 race info page. 33 mile laps? wtf? the stuff they cut out is all the real mtb stuff. raw, rugged, and non vermont and whatnot.

    no bueno.

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    I have raced the 100 mile distance the last two years. I will not be racing this one. I'm with you. They took out the good stuff???
    .
    Owner of JRA Cycles, Medford Ma.

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    I'd definitely do the 100k with a pack. But for 8 it might be nice to ditch it. Mine's pretty bulky anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian jra View Post
    I have raced the 100 mile distance the last two years. I will not be racing this one. I'm with you. They took out the good stuff???
    .
    ya sounds like they took out all the harder backcountry style stuff, the chunky stuff, the super steep stuff, the stuff where when you were flying down you were wondering if you were gonna lose yer front wheel in some random hole or smack a big basketball size rock that was hidden by ferns and grass. you know, the good stuff. stuff where ya gotta ride like a ninja cuz you had to make moves a few moves ahead all of the time. the stuff where all the kitted out ripped and shaven full carbon special-ed water bottle anti hydration pack fellow experts slowed down to a snails pace for the last 40 miles of the race so that us edgy who gives a fvck full rigid hard tail t shirt guys could get to the finish line 1st and drink up all the beer. ya, that stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    I'd definitely do the 100k with a pack. But for 8 it might be nice to ditch it. Mine's pretty bulky anyway.
    Last time I did weeping willow there was a place to grab bottles at the end of each lap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    I'd definitely do the 100k with a pack. But for 8 it might be nice to ditch it. Mine's pretty bulky anyway.
    plenty of frequently placed aid stations along the nh100 course. like every 6-8 miles if i remember correctly. i think i stopped at nearly every one. in a race like that i keep a coupla/few gu's duct taped to my top tube and cookies in my shorts just in case.

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    dangur,
    definatley do the novice class. if for some reason your tear the wheels of your bike and get top three then probably do one more race and if you top three in that one move up to sport. it is really difficult to judge the classes because by the time most people move up they are already really competitive in the next. it is like they are afraid of not being at the front for a season.

    one water bottle will be fine for the one lap. I have an epic that only has one bottle holder also but I also put one on the seat post which helps for the races that have a little longer lap.

    newmarketrog,
    last years nh100 course was absolutely brutal.... in a awesome way. they had a bunch of new singletrack they cut in the beginning and some sometime after the railroad bed which was also tough. I remember one particular section where I literally couldn't tell where the trail went it was just a sea of rocks with leafs and roots all over them.

    from my times and most people who have done the course before it added somewhere between 30-45 minutes for the 100k version. I definitely wanted to go out and get some redemption and am super bummed out they dumbed the course down. they had a lot of complaints of the course being to hard, maybe if people complain again they will put it back to the tougher version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adumb View Post
    newmarketrog,
    last years nh100 course was absolutely brutal.... in a awesome way. they had a bunch of new singletrack they cut in the beginning and some sometime after the railroad bed which was also tough. I remember one particular section where I literally couldn't tell where the trail went it was just a sea of rocks with leafs and roots all over them.

    from my times and most people who have done the course before it added somewhere between 30-45 minutes for the 100k version. I definitely wanted to go out and get some redemption and am super bummed out they dumbed the course down. they had a lot of complaints of the course being to hard, maybe if people complain again they will put it back to the tougher version.
    too hard, boo frickin hooo. no such thing.

    the year i did it (2008) the times were a bunch slower due to epic rains that had washed out many parts of the trail and a bridge crossing a river requiring a 3 mile extension to route to get around it. there were places where old woods roads had become small ponds where you'd run thru thigh deep water. times were about 45 minutes slower than 07'.

    dumbed it down, ayup. i would never want to do 33 mile lap twice or 3 times. just doesn't seem right. an epic race should be one big loop like the vt 50, the old jay challenge and such. i may just go do the single lap on the fatty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    I'm considering entering this - looks like there are still spots open. It would be my first race (male, 19-29).

    As a newbie, should I just default to the novice category? 8 miles seems really short, and I want to do the longer ride in Sport, but I'm worried my lack of racing experience might result in an embarrassing finish. Anyone wiser than me out there have an opinion?
    how did it go? I found the course to be pretty fun. lots of corners and some roots mixed in. nothing super tech but it made for a entertaining course I thought. they definitely added a bit from the course I did a couple years ago.

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    Not too well. But thanks for asking!

    BLUF: Bad tactics and mechanicals (due to my negligence) landed me in 5th place out of 6 competitors. #6 was on a singlespeed. So... yeah.

    Prelude...

    All week leading up to the race there was one gear on my bike that I was having trouble shifting into. I didn't think much of it, since if I was delicate enough on the levers I always managed to get into it. Wasn't worth getting it serviced (no, I don't do all my own wrenching ) and miss out on my weekly rides leading up to the race. Or so I thought.

    The race...

    Having no racing experience, I took Rog's advice and won the sprint off the starting line. But I was pretty gassed going into the singletrack, which immediately turned up the longest climb of the course. (Lesson learned - I need to ride within my fitness level, understand my fitness level, and most importantly IMPROVE my fitness level). That's also when my shifting went from occasionally annoying to absolutely F'd. I couldn't shift down below my ~5th tallest gear on my cassette. The 5 guys on geared bikes in my group passed me, and the only time I caught a glimpse of any them was when I saw #4 finisher's butt way ahead of me on the fire road to the finish line.

    At the bottom of the first descent, I dropped my first chain. At the bottom of the second decent, I noticed my rear triangle was clunking around and moving LATERALLY. I looked down, and my main pivot linkage bolt had come halfway loose. I spent a minute or two putting that back together.

    Except, I think I over-torqued it. When I got back to my car, I tried a million times to seat the fork dropouts on my roof rack, but couldn't do it (I felt like such an idiot lol). After a while I noticed the shock was frozen mid-stroke, lowering the bottom bracket height and changing the head tube angle. So my bike no longer fit! I think that pivot bolt was too tight, and didn't let the rear triangle swing freely.

    Anyway, I dropped one or two more chains over the course of the race, but managed to make up a bit of time, duking it out with some of the Novice Vet Men who started a few minutes after me.

    So that explained all the pedal strikes I was having (I thought I broke my cranks a couple times), and why my bike rode so harsh for the last 6 miles! My bike's geometry was totally different. Shifting issues persisted...

    I ended up with a time of 1:01:35. I was shooting for sub-60 min, and considering the 2-3 minutes I took "fixing" things trailside, and the condition of my bike, I'm pretty happy with my time. I probably could have mixed it up with the 2nd and 3rd place finishers had my bike performed the way I wanted, but I don't think I had a shot at the W. That dude rode pretty fast.

    So I learned a lot, even if it wasn't much fun. I'll definitely be better prepared next time - there's no excuse for the mechanical issues I was having. It's riders like me that this category truly "Novice."

    All in all, I think it's a funny story.
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    with all the problems you had I think you did pretty awesome. riding a bike with a stuck shock that doesn't shift and is dropping chains sounds pretty tricky. definitely drop your bike off and get it serviced before your next race so you know it is all in good working order.

    on another note, how is it that the two local racing places root 66 and efta both have some serious class sandbagging issues. the top five guys in my class would have all been on the podium in the expert classes. the guy that won my class actually had the fastest two lap time of the day a 1:39? what gives. is some local mtb championship trophy that important to them? I totally understand getting a win or two before you move up but if you know you can hang in the expert class and probably podium why wouldn't they try that?

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    Thanks, adumb. How'd you do? Are you at least happy with your results?

    I hear you about sandbaggers. Not that there were any in my division. I think it was a pretty competitive group (minus the singlespeeder, but I definitely respect him showing up to ride with us). But in any competition like this where people bin themselves, you'll have people trying to misrepresent their skill level just to claim a win. That's why people cheat on their golf handicaps, etc.

    The way I see it is, the rest of us either have to get better and beat them, or just enjoy a gorgeous day to be out and riding. And yesterday definitely was definitely that.
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    I am always happy with my results. I got out there and try my best and always learn a thing or two. I ended up 18th with a time of 1:54. there was a good half hour period in there where I wasn't motivated to pedal very hard or I couldn't. I can't really decide which one it was. I kept it on two wheels and kept my bike in one piece. I rode and ran pretty hard last weekend and was still feeling it in my legs for sure. on a perfect day maybe I would of been closer to 1:50

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    Nice. That is a solid pace.

    "I wasn't motivated to pedal very hard or I couldn't."

    ^I know the feeling, and experienced it myself on Sunday. Usually when I ride it's just a ton of fun. But racing hurts... It's a different experience! Obviously you knew that though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adumb View Post
    on another note, how is it that the two local racing places root 66 and efta both have some serious class sandbagging issues. the top five guys in my class would have all been on the podium in the expert classes. the guy that won my class actually had the fastest two lap time of the day a 1:39? what gives. is some local mtb championship trophy that important to them? I totally understand getting a win or two before you move up but if you know you can hang in the expert class and probably podium why wouldn't they try that?
    The Novice and sport categories actually did a shorter lap than the Expert race.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    N

    Bad tactics .....Having no racing experience, I took Rog's advice....
    I gotta hear what rog has to say about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    I gotta hear what rog has to say about this.
    fully rigid singlespeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A_A View Post
    The Novice and sport categories actually did a shorter lap than the Expert race.
    did you go? I am almost positive that the novice and sport and experts all did the same course. the novice did one lap and the sport and experts did 2.

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    A_A,

    I just double checked my map compared to some other experts that I know and you are totally correct. it is subtle and a little hard to notice unless you are looking for it but they added a little under a mile to the expert laps. so they did just about two more miles. that would make a lot more sense with all the lap times not making much sense. there is always a little sandbagging but I even thought that the numbers looked a little crazy.

    for the record that guy that won my class probably would have still been top three in the expert class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    Not too well. But thanks for asking!

    BLUF: Bad tactics and mechanicals (due to my negligence) landed me in 5th place out of 6 competitors. #6 was on a singlespeed. So... yeah.

    Prelude...

    All week leading up to the race there was one gear on my bike that I was having trouble shifting into. I didn't think much of it, since if I was delicate enough on the levers I always managed to get into it. Wasn't worth getting it serviced (no, I don't do all my own wrenching ) and miss out on my weekly rides leading up to the race. Or so I thought.

    The race...

    Having no racing experience, I took Rog's advice and won the sprint off the starting line. But I was pretty gassed going into the singletrack, which immediately turned up the longest climb of the course. (Lesson learned - I need to ride within my fitness level, understand my fitness level, and most importantly IMPROVE my fitness level). That's also when my shifting went from occasionally annoying to absolutely F'd. I couldn't shift down below my ~5th tallest gear on my cassette. The 5 guys on geared bikes in my group passed me, and the only time I caught a glimpse of any them was when I saw #4 finisher's butt way ahead of me on the fire road to the finish line.

    At the bottom of the first descent, I dropped my first chain. At the bottom of the second decent, I noticed my rear triangle was clunking around and moving LATERALLY. I looked down, and my main pivot linkage bolt had come halfway loose. I spent a minute or two putting that back together.

    Except, I think I over-torqued it. When I got back to my car, I tried a million times to seat the fork dropouts on my roof rack, but couldn't do it (I felt like such an idiot lol). After a while I noticed the shock was frozen mid-stroke, lowering the bottom bracket height and changing the head tube angle. So my bike no longer fit! I think that pivot bolt was too tight, and didn't let the rear triangle swing freely.

    Anyway, I dropped one or two more chains over the course of the race, but managed to make up a bit of time, duking it out with some of the Novice Vet Men who started a few minutes after me.

    So that explained all the pedal strikes I was having (I thought I broke my cranks a couple times), and why my bike rode so harsh for the last 6 miles! My bike's geometry was totally different. Shifting issues persisted...

    I ended up with a time of 1:01:35. I was shooting for sub-60 min, and considering the 2-3 minutes I took "fixing" things trailside, and the condition of my bike, I'm pretty happy with my time. I probably could have mixed it up with the 2nd and 3rd place finishers had my bike performed the way I wanted, but I don't think I had a shot at the W. That dude rode pretty fast.

    So I learned a lot, even if it wasn't much fun. I'll definitely be better prepared next time - there's no excuse for the mechanical issues I was having. It's riders like me that this category truly "Novice."

    All in all, I think it's a funny story.
    glad you took my advice and got the sprint win off of the start. had you not done that, yer whole race woulda been pretty much complete disaster due to the bike issues. now you know. and now you know a bit more where yer fitness is by how gassed you got soon into the race. you don't get faster by riding along comfortably. gotta put yerself into hurt house helL.

  39. #39
    A_A
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    Quote Originally Posted by adumb View Post
    A_A,

    I just double checked my map compared to some other experts that I know and you are totally correct. it is subtle and a little hard to notice unless you are looking for it but they added a little under a mile to the expert laps. so they did just about two more miles. that would make a lot more sense with all the lap times not making much sense. there is always a little sandbagging but I even thought that the numbers looked a little crazy.

    for the record that guy that won my class probably would have still been top three in the expert class.
    The split was between the 2 and 3 mile mark of the "expert" loop. It was actually a hard section that had a gradual climb that hurt pretty good. With the sport class you will always have a few guys that could be competitive in the expert class and a race like Willowdale favors people with a big engine. The additional distance would likely add 5 minutes per lap. The fastest sport was 1:39:32. Add 10 minutes and you would only get a podium spot if you were in the Junior men category.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A_A View Post
    The split was between the 2 and 3 mile mark of the "expert" loop. It was actually a hard section that had a gradual climb that hurt pretty good. With the sport class you will always have a few guys that could be competitive in the expert class and a race like Willowdale favors people with a big engine. The additional distance would likely add 5 minutes per lap. The fastest sport was 1:39:32. Add 10 minutes and you would only get a podium spot if you were in the Junior men category.
    Yes....the Expert and Elite laps were longer. Two laps of expert were 19.9+ miles and the Sport and Novice was around 18 miles. You can't compare the times from Sport to Expert....and just like was said above, there will always be guys on the edge of Sport and Expert. Some of these guys will never sack up and jump to Expert.

    Race was great. Seemed like large turn out based on parking situation. Was very dusty, dry and warm by the time Expert/Elite went off.

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    i don't remember what age group, but i do know there was major Novice sandbagger. His lap time, i believe, was better than any lap time of either Sport or Expert guys. Where's the satisfaction in that? man....

    I felt pretty good, but kinda blown up halfway through that second lap. Dropped a chain second lap but that was my only mechanical. Had my best finish in 4 or so times doing the race - 7th in Sport.

    oh - OP: just run a minimalist/small hydration pack, even for smaller XC races. I do, as i simply can't deal with bottles on trails/while redlining it, and i def need to replenish as i sweat a ton. Sounds like you're on your way to some good/better results in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post

    oh - OP: just run a minimalist/small hydration pack, even for smaller XC races. I do, as i simply can't deal with bottles on trails/while redlining it, and i def need to replenish as i sweat a ton.
    Yeah I threw a bottle cage on my bike a few days before the race and did a test run without my camelbak - it sucked. I can't ride and remove/replace the bottle from the cage. So I just wore the pack. So much easier to simultaneously keep moving and keep hydrated.
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