Sunday, July 12, 2009

Winter Park Series Race #3 Report

Yesterday was my second adventure at the low key and super fun Winter Park Race Series for this season. Like 2 weeks ago a few big names decided to show up and show us where it's at with Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski blasting to the win 2 minutes ahead of Michael Broderick. Those guys were cruising!

My race went amazingly well and I was surprised at the legs I had, especially during the first hour. The whole race I was blasting up the climbs and attacking riders on their dual suspensions as they bobbed up the mountains. The legs were light and all they wanted to do was rocket, it was working perfectly.

About half way through the race there is this amazingly fast fire road descent that is super sketchy, with monster jumps and one corner that is rutted out from rain water and four wheel drive vehicles coming up in the wet and muddy conditions. I took a huge digger on this corner and lost my position in a solid and strong group that would have carried me to finish inside the top 30.

After regrouping I was back on and hammering forward. Surprisingly my confidence wasn't shaken but sitting in no man's land I was having trouble pushing as hard as I needed to. Fortunately someone came around me and after a minute of riding his pace I got tired of it and just blasted by him on the next semi sustained climb (my playground). This continued for the remainder of the race. If the trail went up I was flying climbing many climbs in my big ring and attacking out of the saddle. I have honestly never felt so strong on my bike.

Unfortunately with my rear tire a little low from semi-burping it during my first crash I had to take it easy during the technical descents so as not to blow it off the rim. Every time I felt the rim hit I cringed. But I was able to ride smooth and not lose too much time on the best singletrack of the race.

Popped out of the bottom attacked up the next climb and just kept hammering. From the 1 hour 30 mark all the way until the finish at 1 hour 50 I rode my big ring no matter what it looked like. I felt like I was riding possessed! And then, I crashed again. Unfortunately I couldn't get up as fast this time as my right leg cramped up and I spent 2 minutes laying on the ground just trying stand up. It was brutal.

Back on the bike and a minute of spinning and I was back to being possessed. Ripping past people and making on final move to finish 44th out of 55 riders only 20 minutes down.

Maybe not my best race on paper, but based on how I was feeling and riding I know I could have been close to 15 places higher and almost 5 minutes faster without the crashes.

One thing that I was exceptionally impressed with this weekend was how awesome wide riser bars are for control and for climbing. For the past 2 years I have been a narrow flat bar rider with a 1 inch drop from saddle to bars. After some thought on my strengths and weaknesses as a rider I convinced myself that some wide riser bars were the way to go. Just this week I put on a set of Easton low rise bars that are 685 mm wide. They are awesome! Sweet leverage when climbing, lungs are held open for comfortable breathing, and so much better for cornering. I think I am a convert and will be riding the wide riser bars even on my race hard tail.

A good solid weekend of training and now to rest up for Nationals. That race is going to be brutal, but fortunately suits me with it's alpine course nature (long climb, long descent, rinse repeat).

Look for a build report of my Yeti A.R.C. in the coming days. I will be picking the frame up at the Yeti Factory in Golden early this week and then spending time to get it dialed for awesomeness at Sol Vista Ski Basin.

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