Race Report - Treasure Valley Rally- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Race Report - Treasure Valley Rally

    EFTA NECS Race #5 - Treasure Valley Rally, Rutland MA
    Did I just win this thing?

    Preamble:
    I am slowly finding my way around new environs (back to my place of origin - the East Coast) and all the new riding, racing, and just about everything else in life over here on the right coast. Made the move a few months ago from Santa Fe, NM - lovely historic town, epic riding, high altitude, clear skies and low humidity - to Marblehead, MA - lovely historic town on the Massachusetts coast, epic traffic, low altitude, muggy and laden with bugs. As in insects; mosquitoes, flies, and everything else that likes to bite, pinch, sting, and otherwise cause discomfort.

    Why, one may ask - move from a veritable outdoor / cycling Utopia? One word: family. Can't pick 'em, and we couldn't get THEM to move out west, so we packed up, sold the house (plus, I got laid off in January) and headed east. We made the decision so that our son Victor could be near all his immediate family, and it has paid off fantastically! Nevermind the fact that Santa Fe - aside from the outdoor opportunities - was a lousy place to raise a kid for us. We could not afford the insanely expensive private schools, and worried greatly about a municipality that boasts a 65% high school drop out rate! WTF? THAT is astounding. Sixty-Five percent. Almost 7 out of 10 kids do not graduate from high school. That is sick.

    Anyhow... back to the story; so here I am pretty much settled in, and emerging from a cocoon of no-structure training. Found a fast group that meets up Tuesdays and Sundays for that pure, cross-eyed flogging that only road riding (with MUCH stronger guys) can provide. Add in my random Spinning Program at the gym, and a bit of running - and what do you know - I feel pretty good. There is only one way to test that, of course, and that is at the races. Over this season I have attended (3) of the previous EFTA (Eastern fat Tire Association) races, all part of the New England Championship Series (NECS). As an older veteran expert racer, the non-USAC category I find myself in is the 'Expert Veteran I' group. Translation: all the fast, smart, somewhat older guys line up here and kick each others' butts, like right NOW. I missed the last event - due entirely to riding / racing / life 'blahs'. Seems that skipping a race is a good thing, as I found out this past weekend!

    The venue, like a number of the EFTA NECS venues, is private. This one is super-private, in fact - as it was held on a Boy Scouts Reservation. Can't have a bunch of lycra-clad weird-o's around all those little boys, or someone might get suspicious. What it meant, however - is that there was BBQ on site, a lake for after-race dipping, and absolutely lovely surroundings. Rutland, MA - just outside of Worcester - felt like it was as remote as one could get so close to civilization. Big grassy expo/start/finish area, toilets, easy parking - all in all a well thought out spot.

    Better yet - we made a family outing of it. My dad, my wife, and Victor - the 2.5 year old push-bike master, all came out to watch - and Victor to try his hand at the kids race. Normally I'm a little tense when the crew is around, but tried to keep it all in perspective this day. Packing all the rain / cool weather gear for the predicted thunderstorms - we were greeted by a warm sunny morning! Doh. Didn't pack the sun block, of course. Thankfully my dad picked some up en route, and we were spared potential sun burn.

    Time to race!
    Going through a mellow hybrid of a warm-up routine, I felt OK. Not great, not bad - but OK. Calm, really - which all things considered is probably the best way to be before 2 hours of hell. Lot's of fast looking people out here, I thought. I pre-rode the first mile or so, and turned around at the first big mud / bog area and headed back to staging. Found my series rival - Todd, and we cued up and chatted a bit. He had heard that there were not really any big climbs - but that it was a very rocky course (no way!). Off went the elite mens field, and then the younger experts, and then we got on the line. The 2 Veteran CAT's lined up (our groups and the even older/faster guys) and in a minute were off.

    I immediately felt weird. Still calm, but legs turning the pedals just fine. 3rd wheel back or so, it seemed like a pretty mellow start to a race. As we hooked and turned through the first part of the course, all together and all in line, Todd, myself, and one other guy (skinny dude on a 29er HT - heretofore referred to as 'the 29er guy') were at the front. Once we swooshed through the first fast parts of the course, up a moderate climb, and into the woods - we were off. I came around Todd, then some other guy came around me - just the usual early race jockeying. Past the first muddy section, up and over a hump, then a quick descent to the first creek crossing. Leaving a little room between myself and the two guys ahead, I splashed and bounced through a rough section, up the steep embankment, and on. I heard some commotion behind, and never looked back. I think the 3-4 guys I was with started opening up a gap here, as traffic diminished shortly thereafter.

    If I were to describe the course, generally - I'd divide it into 3 portions; the first part was fun and fast, the second (representing the middle 5 or so miles of the course) was NASTY, and the third was fun and swoopy, bringing us back along the lake shore and through the start/finish area. On the first lap, as the slog set in for the NASTY section, I was on and off the bike a lot. Mr. 29er and I traded spots a bunch, and had some company with a few other guys from different CAT's. On one techy climb, he was ahead and bobbled, got off his bike, and proceeded to not only hike up the nice rideable line - making me try and pass on the outside - but seemed to lean into / block me as I tried to pass! Doh. Off the bike I go, words exchanged, and in a huff he took off ahead at the top. Seemed like everytime it opened up / got easier - he'd pull ahead just a bit [roadie?] and everytime it got techy - especially descending, he'd slow WAY down. At some point he pulled ahead and was mainly out of sight. I was pretty sure this had me in 2nd place. Hmmm. Stay cool, stay smart, ride my race and keep a sharp eye out. Another guy went by now, Mr. Blue Full Suspension (Mr. Blue FS) - Double DOH!. Figuring I was in 3rd or fourth place now, but with no one behind me in sight, I rode a bit trying to regroup, calm down, and regain composure. All the rough terrain and on-and-off the bike nonsense, and a knee bash/cut, had me rattled a bit. I still felt fine, bike worked great, so BREATH I thought. Go get these guys and get crackin'!

    That fun latter portion of the lap had a few real steep kicks, and I powered up and over them as best I could. Swooping down / through the start finish area dirt road, I bobbled a bottle swap, dropping my fresh one. One of the guys on Team BUMS - the event promoter / team, named Scott - saw it happen, grabbed my bottle and chased me down for the hand-off! How cool (Scott turned out to be a hell of a guy - see note later about kids race / book). On the way up the start climb, I also grabbed my neutral feed station water bottle I left earlier - just in case.

    At the start of lap two here, I was pretty much alone in the woods. I focused on riding well, drinking / eating a bit - then a bit more as it was HOT and humid. Like warm wet blanket hot and humid. I then saw a few riders ahead, and hoped they were 'my guys'. One of them was, Mr. Blue FS (where the hell was Todd? - is he going to blow by me near the end again?), and I passed him soon there after. I then came up on a younger expert who noted there was only one more guy in my group ahead - so I knew where I was for sure now. How could this young buck sound so rested and calm? Pffft! Youth is wasted on the young and all that.... Myself? I was covered in muck, breathing and wheezing like a leaky bellows, and bouncing recklessly all over the place. How was he so clean and mellow, I mean really?

    Now there were riders in the other CAT's strewn all over the course. This makes good motivation for me, however - so I used them like carrots on a stick. One after another I came by, and Aha! Gotcha Mr. 29er - just ahead in my sights, and struggling to keep pace. We had exchanged words after our initial exchange, and had kissed and made up - so when I went by (blew by is how I felt ;-)) he said "go get 'em" or something like that. We were about 1/2 way through the last lap, and I knew I was in good shape. Amazingly, in 25 minutes or so I had drank all the bottle from the hand-off, and started in on bottle #3. Could this be why I was feeling good? I have to say Hammer Products (Strawberry HEED in this case) do me right lately. Did a CLIF shot, drank a little more, and started the last push.

    With a few more folks here and there really bogged down on harder / steeper parts of the course, I began processing all the emotions that go with taking the lead in a XC mountain bike race. Don't blow it, don't crash, ride steady - not too conservatively, but damn! Not too hard either. Wait - I think that was a different skinny guy on a 29er... maybe I'm nor really in first. Maybe 20 other guys snuck by while I was running over boulders and getting covered in the gloopy mud so prevalent on course. Hey! There is another 29er dude with a similar kit - maybe THAT's him. And so on. Funny how the brain works against oneself so easily. Focus, look ahead, be positive. YOU GOT IT - now keep it.

    I was cleaning a few of the spots I had trouble with the first lap, and had trouble with spots I cleaned when I was fresher. I had a little more 'room' on course to really focus, and it was indeed a lovely venue. At the deepest, darkest portion at the top of a little rise, was a neutral water/feed station! Nice. I grabbed a cup of cool, fresh water - drinking half, and pouring he rest over my sweat drenched overheating body. Ahhhh..... true joy. Dropping down off this big rock / rise area, we looped over the river and through the woods - and then right back up by the water station - where they had another team working the backside! Truly fantastic organization and volunteers. I'm pretty sure I tossed my empty cups in the cans - at least 3 of the 4 times.

    Wind up for the last stretch of course, and seem to be holding up fine. Must be that the start went a little easier than typical - or I felt a little better than typical (or a LOT!) as I was tiring, but felt good, with just enough in reserve to do battle with any late attacks. I did start looking back - especially from vantage points that offered a good sight line back a ways. No one was threatening, so I kept focused on a steady pace, drinking, and staying smart. On the last rolling lake side stretch, I was pretty sure I had done all I could, and hoped my calculations were correct out on course, putting me in first place. It has been a long, long time since I've been on top of the podium!

    Around the last bend and up the last climb, over a wooden bridge - I gas it the last few hundred meters across the finish line. THEN I collapse. Yow, That was hard. As I warm down and check in on the family, my wife reports that preliminary results have me in 4th place. Huh. I knew I was first or second, so when they post preliminary results, I check it out. Aha! They had me mixed in a different group.... Next wave of results, about ten minutes later has me in second now, in the correct group. Hmm. That might be right, after all. Ah well. But wait! The guy listed in first has an impossible time of 1 hour 2 minutes (for our two laps, that'd be impossible - even for Kabush!). My time is just a tick over 2 hours even. Next back is at 2 hours 9 minutes, and so on. I note the quirk to the officials, and then head off pretty sure I won.

    Time to change and freshen up! I go down to the lake and simply walk right in, chest deep. Now that feels good - and I rinse everything off and linger for a few minutes. My son approved of his newly cleaned off dad, as he did not approve of me all muddy. Strange. We head back to the car, I get some clean dry clothes on, and check the latest round of results. I'm on top, and there is major carnage in our group, with HUGE time spreads for such fast guys in such a short race. It went something like me at 2:00, 2nd place at 2:09, then a couple of guys around 2:11, then 2:17, and then Todd at a very uncharacteristic 23 minutes back! He must have had multiple disaster on course, or been riding with one leg... So I had it - and by a big gap too. Nice! Damned good day on the bike.

    The best part:


    So after my race, the kids race was warming up and the course was being pre-ridden by kids and parents. Victor, however, was not having it. He was really mad at us. It seems that he misunderstood us, and thought he literally was racing with dad! My wife and a number of other spectators reported he took off, on his 12" Specialized Push Bike (no drivetrain / brakes) chasing the expert start wave. He takes this serious. When Dana realized what was happening, she chased him all the way up most of the start area grassy hill, and told him what was going on. He didn't get it. What he did do was turn around and FLY down this big (to this 2 year olds parents, anyhow) hill - scaring and wowing those who saw it. Scott - the same race organizer / water bottle picker-upper saint, was managing the kids races too - and tried to appease Victor. They'd set up a special, simple loop for him in the big grassy field - but he'd have none of it. He wanted to race / race with his dad! It broke my heart to hear the story - and worse, see the expression on his face right after I was done. He was sort of distant / despondent and it took a lot of my ham-bone silliness to snap him out of it. We got him to race around the fieled a couple of times - as long as I would chase him!



    Then Scott said he had something for Victor. He gave him a copy of the kids book about a young aspiring bike mechanic porcupine - a fantastic story illustrated really well, that HE WROTE / ILLUSTRATED! Jesus, this guy did it all. He was a huge part of why this day was so fun - no matter how well I had done. That was just an added bonus to a great day out racing bikes. Thanks to Scott and all the Team Bums crew, the volunteers, and my family for coming out.

    glen

    Last edited by glenzx; 08-31-2009 at 10:52 AM.
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  2. #2
    chips & bier
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    Wonderful read - tnx! :-)

  3. #3
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    Reading this,I felt like I was there with ya. Great write-up.

  4. #4
    avg. joe
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    Great job.

    Been away for a while and lurking when I can, but it is always good to read your reports.



    STinGa
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  5. #5
    mdc
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    Was your son the little guy on the push bike zooming around the start/ finish area? Very funny! Great write up and I'm gonna post a link over to the BUMS forum, I'm sure everyone involved ( especially Scott!) will appreciate your kind words.

    Mike C ( one of the BUMS parking cars and helping with the timing)

    Hope to see you at TVR 2010!

  6. #6
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    Nice write-up!
    I like bicycles. Bicycles make me happy. Riding them makes me even happier.
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  7. #7
    I ride with tools
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    Never mind. NMIBOWOY
    Last edited by Jim Beam; 08-31-2009 at 05:29 PM.

  8. #8
    Is the bike OK?
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    I'm too tired to read all that text but I figured out you won your race. Congratulations Glen

  9. #9
    RCC
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    Nice writte up Glen as usual and congratulations on the win!peace
    RCC
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    And i was thinking to my self
    This could be heaven or this could be hell...

  10. #10
    a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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    Congrats on a strong race!

    I agree with you about the hs dropout rate in Santa Fe... WTF??? That sadly looks like the local area/gov't/people are totally failing the kids. Not good.

    Does anyone know the story behind this? Is there a huge population there that has to send their kids to work to help provide for the family? Something else? Drugs?

    I went through a somewhat similar decision to move away from an outdoor paradise about 5 years ago. Not as dramatic a change as yours by far because I only moved about 4 hours away, but I can relate to the decision you had to make.
    I read that on the internet.

  11. #11
    wannabee
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    That's awesome man! Miss the chili? Glad to see things are going well for you out east.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric
    Wonderful read - tnx! :-)
    Of course - thankx for reading!
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonio
    Reading this,I felt like I was there with ya. Great write-up.
    Thanks Antonio - if you do feel like you were there - you likely were sweating!
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  14. #14
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    We've both been away for a while - glad to see you're still lurging...

    GLinMA

    LOL! Hmmm... new screen name perhaps?

    glen


    Quote Originally Posted by STinGa
    Been away for a while and lurking when I can, but it is always good to read your reports.



    STinGa
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  15. #15
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    Mike!

    Yes - he was the one. Not sure why some browsers have dropped the images of HIM, as I had two in the story but see they are not showing up here in Firefox on a Mac...

    Scott and the BUMS crew did a stellar job, and hell yes we'l be there in 2010. As for the next Maine Run Off / Camden hell of the north - maybe not. I was abused and tortured all day! Peanur buttery mud, dubious course marking, and no idea who I was racing with made it a serious chalenge. Fun, in a sick sort of way - but not like the awesome time last weekend at the Scouts Reservation...

    glen

    Quote Originally Posted by mdc
    Was your son the little guy on the push bike zooming around the start/ finish area? Very funny! Great write up and I'm gonna post a link over to the BUMS forum, I'm sure everyone involved ( especially Scott!) will appreciate your kind words.

    Mike C ( one of the BUMS parking cars and helping with the timing)

    Hope to see you at TVR 2010!
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  16. #16
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    LOL! Thaks Neal!

    g

    Quote Originally Posted by nealpederson
    I'm too tired to read all that text but I figured out you won your race. Congratulations Glen
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  17. #17
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    Thanks Ramon - the riding out here is NUTS. The Bandaleros would love it. I'm cobstantly doing battle with it myself...

    glen

    Quote Originally Posted by RCC
    Nice writte up Glen as usual and congratulations on the win!peace
    RCC
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  18. #18
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    Thanks '40 - and no, I never did get the scoop on that crazy drop out rate.... All of your theories - and then perhaps the sort of institutional laziness on uninvolved mentors/parents/community, but also just of the town. That might sound a little rough, but there's something to it somewhere.

    Why work hard when you'll have a place to stay forever at your parents/grandparents/great grandparents house? All ya need is gas and beer money, right?

    The absolute worst school districts in MA would run circles around a number of prvate schools in NM...

    But then it is 'tax-a-chussettes'! Although car and real estate taxes are way more reasonable than I thought they'd be...

    glen

    Quote Originally Posted by 40hills
    Congrats on a strong race!

    I agree with you about the hs dropout rate in Santa Fe... WTF??? That sadly looks like the local area/gov't/people are totally failing the kids. Not good.

    Does anyone know the story behind this? Is there a huge population there that has to send their kids to work to help provide for the family? Something else? Drugs?

    I went through a somewhat similar decision to move away from an outdoor paradise about 5 years ago. Not as dramatic a change as yours by far because I only moved about 4 hours away, but I can relate to the decision you had to make.
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  19. #19
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    Thanks GBB - and YES! I do miss it!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by giantbikeboy
    That's awesome man! Miss the chili? Glad to see things are going well for you out east.
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  20. #20
    Linoleum Knife
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    Nice work Glen! Glad the move is working out for you.

    I've had a great race season... maybe some day I'll write up a race report

  21. #21
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    Great to hear the story and also glad to know there is a path back from time off. I was sunk at the beginning of the season with other obligations and never really got on track. After spending many weekends fretting about missing another race, I built up a big trail bike so I at least had a reason for being so slow. I hope to get back on track and race again next season.

  22. #22
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    Way to Glen , congratulations!
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  23. #23
    beer thief
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    Way to go Glen! Winning an expert race in the northeast is no small feat, lots of fast guys out there.

    I seldom make it to Passion these days but your one thread made it worthwhile.

  24. #24
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    Thanks guys - and SC Rob - there is indeed hope! As for Mark - there may not be any...

    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

  25. #25
    The Punk Hucker
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    Ok if I was a porcupine (I'm my own mechanic...), I'd have flats on every ride. This is the most ridiculous book ever... pfffff
    Beware the hucking bear!

  26. #26
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    And this is the sort of brilliant commentary that keeps me away from the Passion Forum most of the time...

    So let's see, a children's book about being a porcupine bike mechanic. Hmmm... maybe there is a STORY about overcoming a major problem like puncturing tubes/tires with all those quills. Maybe - do ya think? Maybe that story - overcoming a hardship to prevail doing what you love, could make a fun kids book AND tell a fun and educational story.

    Or is that too much of a literary and imaginative leap for you?

    Thanks for the pertinent dialog here (I'm my own mechanic too - yay!) and the most ridiculous post I've read in a while. What next - picking on books for grandmothers?

    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    Ok if I was a porcupine (I'm my own mechanic...), I'd have flats on every ride. This is the most ridiculous book ever... pfffff
    Speaking of pertinent posts:
    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    Ironic indeed. [snip] I just got tired of reading lame posts and have to evacuate the frustration... Enough said...
    "It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than something you haven't..." -

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