Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Greenbrier Challenge

Another weekend of mountain bike racing. This was my first Cross Country MTB race, the Greenbrier Challenge up in Greenbrier MD. MTB racing has less stringent licensing rules than road racing, so I had the choice between racing Beginner (Cat 3) or Sport (Cat 2). I opted for the Cat 2 race, since it was 3 laps instead of 2...since this was a 1:30 hour drive to the start, I thought it most efficient to race longer than I drove to get there.

Got up at the crack of dawn to ride up with Jim for a pre-ride of the course. It rained all night, so Sonya thought it a bit crazy that we were getting up so early to go ride in the cold rain. I was a bit nervous, convinced that I was in over my head...should've raced beginner. Rode the course once, went and rocky, but in pretty good condition considering all the rain. I guess when the course is mainly rocks, it drains well. Realized I was weak on some of the technical areas...convinced myself I was going to crash in the rocks...done with preride by 8:45, had until 11:00 to race.

It was cold, rainy.

I was hungry, and needed more coffee. Luckily the camp concession was open.

They had coffee, donuts, and hot bologna. Hot bologna sounded tempting, as it's something I haven't tried in about 25 years, but I stayed away knowing it's not good pre-race grub.

Rode around to keep the blood flowing and stay warm. Layered up. Sun poked out for a minute, shed layers...cloudy again, more layers. Must've changed 3 or 4 times before the race.

Line up for the race. Haul ass with the leaders going up the first hill. Get passed by a bunch of dudes going down. Lose my line on the downhill. Luckily the ground was soft at this point, and the trail looped back...ended up with about 20 yards of off-trail riding. Got back going... Settled in with a group of 4 or 5 riders that I'd pass on the climb or flat sections, and they'd pass me going down. Did this for the 1st and 2nd lap. 2nd lap, I hit a tree in a rock garden...luckily I was only riding 1mph.

At the start of the 3rd and final lap, I decided that I had to finish ahead of the group I was in. Hammered up the non-technical hill at the start, creating a big gap. Recovered on the downhill, hammered the flats and climbs. Didn't see those guys again.

Finished 12th of 20 something riders in the age group. Middle of the pack once again. Noted that had I raced beginner, lap times were good enough for 2nd. Once I learn how to ride downhill, the times should get better.

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