A funny race report and season wrap up- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Jan 2004

    A funny race report and season wrap up

    So *rt has inspired me to post a race report.

    I appreciate this forum more than any other and have been inspired and enlightened from it over the years.

    This year marked my return to racing after 5 year hiatus after having kids. I did one race in April in Vet Expert and got shelled out the back. A reality check and brow beating from my wife lead me to realize that there is no shame in moving back to sport, and I had to wait until August to do the Hoo Ha and did vet Sport and was stunned with a 5th there. The below race and the last race, the Rowdy Dawg which is promoted by our team in Blacksburg, VA, were all part of the Virginia Championship Series.

    I got a 5th, a 3rd and a 4th in Vet Sport which to my utter disbelief put me in first place overall for the VA Championship Series in Vet Sport. And I got to live my dream of getting on the podium, and got this oh so sweet plaque that is hanging on my office wall.

    You know, over 14 years of trying and I finally did it. Racing for me has always been about trying me best and getting spit out the back, only to keep trying again. It's been a real love/hate thing and it's amazing how much these little regional races and events can affect one's happiness, when the result really matters to no one but myself.

    The best part, is that I am riding like half the volume I used to before kids and my times are only slightly slower, and with the exception of downhilling I feel like I am riding my best ever.

    Thanks Dave Morris!!!! I can put my family first, and still ride at a level that makes me happy.

    Below is a race report from Oct 3rd at the Wolf Gap/Dante's Inferno race north of Harrisonburg, VA promoted by Shenandoah Mountan Touring.
    Wolf Gap (aka Liberty Furnace, Dante's Inferno, Race 4 in the VA State series) was this past weekend. This race and the hometown Rowdy Dawg have been on my calendar for a long time.

    And to think that I almost didn't even go . On Friday at work, I started to feel a cold coming on. Sinus congestion, aches, chills. What! How in the world am I getting sick today. Last week was a total rest week, and this week was just short stuff to get my legs going again. It might be because I hardly slept earlier this week. Why? You might ask. Well my mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law, and the grandma's cat have come to live with us for 3 months while the MIL's new house is being built. Let's just say the overall stress level had gone up about several notches to be almost visible like the haze over Silicon valley.

    But what a bummer. By Friday evening coaching K soccer, I was definitely sick. Saturday morning I was able to hide in bed till 10am, and still felt like hell. My mother in law suggested a "tonic" of Vitamin C. I say what the hey. But I forgot about what one of the side effects of high dosages of Vitamin C is. Let's just say it keeps Pepto Bismol in business. So on top of being sick, I now am in the bathroom every 10 minutes setting myself up for dehydration.

    Should I go, or should I not? I was speaking at a conference in DC in Monday and my wife and I had been planning to take our older son to the race then up to DC for some education at the museums. So we decided to drive up to Harrisonburg on Saturday evening and stay in a motel and make a decision in the morning. If anything, I'd drop of race flyers for Rowdy Dawg and maybe just do a short ride and then head up to DC.

    That evening while waiting for dinner the chills and aches came back. After a good nights sleep, Sunday morning I actually felt halfway decent. Hacking every few seconds, but at least the aches and fever were gone.

    Driving up to the race sight, the mountains (hills to you westerners) in the area got bigger and bigger. I decided on the spot to just do it and pay the price later.

    I was really nervous on the line, not so much because of thinking of how I'd do but thinking if I'd finish at all. Being sick and dehydrated the day before and given a predisposition to leg cramps, and knowing how epic everything is around Harrisonburg, what was I getting myself into?

    My goals were simple:
    -Don't crash
    -No flats or mechanicals
    -Don't bonk
    -Don't dehydrate
    -stay focused ( I have a tendency to start thinking about the training I'm going to do NEXT year rather than staying focused in the moment)

    I'm learning to avoid goals based on results because who shows up to the races is totally out of my control. Keep goals limited to things within my control.

    The race was very low key. Small fields, few marshals, no water stations, but it was very well marked with arrows, and Forest Service blazes. The race was a mass start so I had no idea who or how many were in my class.

    It started on a gravel fire road. 4 miles of climbing. The field spaced out shortly, and we climbed and climbed. I was riding along side some experts so I knew that my timebomb was ticking to explode. And sure enough I had to back off or risk blowing sky high.

    The road climbed and climbed (like 40 minutes) then topped out into big ring fire road. My legs were coming around, but I was hacking a lung up the whole way. We took a right onto a grassy downhill that turned into a single track downhill.

    Wouldn't you know it...ROCKS. There were some pretty good rock gardens on the downhill, and I looked at one crevice wrong and it grabbed my wheel in a slow speed endo. Nothing major, but it woke me up. Though I noticed a few days later that my precious custom BREW got it's first major ding in the top tube. Several rock gardens had running water on them from all the rain. I walked those for sure.

    This downhill dumped out into a campground before turning straight up a shale jeep road. About as steep as the steepest part of our local climbs except for a mile. I was stoked to spin the granny up most of it with just some small hikes.

    This topped out into a big ring fire road, before heading onto a technical ridge. I saw a glimmer of a sweet overlook, but couldn't enjoy it between hacks. This ridge had been on my mind for weeks especially with Massanutten clear in my mind. Thankfully it was much more rideable than the HooHa. With enough momentum a lot of the rock gardens were rideable. But hesitate for second and your front wheel would get swallowed and throw you. There were a couple of super steep pitches that were hikes. The muscle cramps started on the ridge about 1:50 into the race. Amazingly enough I was able to ride through them and they went away. First time for that!

    The ridge ended with some big-ring singletrack that was a blast then went into the downhill.

    Everything is big out here. The climbs and the downhills. This rocket run went on FOREVER. I used to love downhills like this. Sad to say not anymore. JANE, get me off this crazy thing. Everything was hurting, my hands, arms, feet, back. Being tired and fatigued, I was grabbing way too much brake and went slower and slower, which of course made it harder than it should have been. I talked to a local expert after the race, He had a high speed ultrasonic leaving the bike episode on the downhill, and the rips and rash on his side attested to it.

    Finally it dumped out onto the final gravel fire road. Hey! Wait a minute, this is supposed to be downhill. Not! Well at least it was big ring gradual rises followed by some downhill, till it finally went down the rest of the way. On sections like this I wish I had 50 more pounds for gravity to work with.

    Last course marker : "1/2 mile to go" And finally the finish was there. My wife and son were waiting for me and it was wonderful to have them there.

    Regardless of ANY placing, to my kids I'm the best cyclist in the world, and that's what really matters!!!

    2:32 overall time. Thankfully the promoter had pulled out a super steep single track because it had turned into creek. It would have been a lot longer with that in it.

    We left before the results had been posted and didn't have a clue how I did, but was very happy with my performance especially given the cold. On Monday morning I proceeded to lose my voice COMPLETELY. I had to give my presentation in a whisper combined with pantomime and powerpoint.

    I just saw on the SMT web site that I got 3rd out of 11. I had no clue at the time, but 2nd place was just 1:30 in front of me, and 4th was 1:10 behind me.


    Thanks to Chris Scott and Shenandoah Mountain Touring for putting on a fun race, and thanks to my sponsors:

    Southwestern VA ENT Associates, P.C.

  2. #2
    Reputation: free-agent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Way to go man....

    Glad to hear you are doing well and enjoying yourself! Will they see you in expert next year?
    Again, congrats.
    Support mtb'ing in the Portland area, join NWTA with your dollars, hands, and/or voice. nw-trail.org

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: upstateSC-rider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Awesome read. Glad you went on and raced anyway.

    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by free-agent
    Glad to hear you are doing well and enjoying yourself! Will they see you in expert next year?
    Again, congrats.
    I'm am not sure. I would love to 'be' and expert racer, but I don't think I can put the time in that it really takes to race expert. Honestly, some of my training hours were 4 hrs or less a week. Though for the VA series almost all the courses are the same distance for expert and vet except one or two.

    I am very sensitive to the sandbagging issue as I've seen too many 1st place sport riders post times that would beat half the expert field. However I never placed better than 3rd, and my times were extremely close to the riders right below me, and above me. Which to me means that we are evenly matched. In almost all the races the first place rider in the class was considerably faster than 2nd and 3rd.

    Plus my first Vet Expert race in April showed me that I was riding over my head. And it is just so much more fun to actually have someone to chase and someone chasing me rather than riding caboose like I used to in expert.

    So one of my goals is to get fast enough where I don't belong in expert, but until then I'll probably stay in vet sport.

  5. #5
    i worship Mr T
    Reputation: *rt*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    nice job & great report! congrats on the 3rd place finish!!

    "where are you not going so fast?" (question asked to cyclist on a trainer)

    *rt*'s fabulous blog
    mm blogging

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    *rt--Do you want a 180s banner

    Quote Originally Posted by *rt*
    nice job & great report! congrats on the 3rd place finish!!

    Hey rt.

    180s sponsored our race. they sent 3 banners, 2 small and 1 large.
    They didn't want them back, do you want any?


  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: merlin's Avatar
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    Jan 2004


    You have a great attitude about racing! Before I did my first race I got so nervous I talked with a sports shrink, and he told me what you already know..don't focus on results, focus on riding a good race and having fun. Thats the only thing you can control
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

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