I am not a sprinter. Today’s 19 mile roller coaster at Sundance was a sprint. Our group (Exp. 19-29) started with the pros. Why? I don’t know. But it was fun pretending I was in thier league as we lined up for the start. Chucky Gibson, Bart Gillespie, Eric Jones and a bunch of other local legends all showed up for one of the biggest Pro fields this year in the ICUP. I also got to see my old friends and riding buddies Chris and Kathy Sherwin. I havn’t seen them in a long time. They are hard to keep up with while Kathy travels the globe riding the World Cup and NORBA circuits. She is riding really well right now.
So anyway, we go out with the pros, I find the wheel of Dave Welch who has been destroying the Expert 19-29 group all year long. I stick him for a while, but he gets a small gap as we jockey with some of the lagging pros before the dirt road squeezed us into the single track. Half a lap later I pop, crack, blow up…pick your term…I was in the red. I had to back it off a bit and try to recover. I managed to hold off a few of the charging field for a few more minutes, but soon I had to let them go.
Later, on the tight singletrack descent I crashed into a metal trail marking pole. Yeah. There happened to be a teenage kid there volunteering as a course marshall. He looked as surprised as I did after I smacked it. In the 15 seconds it took me to get back going about 15 people passed me. So lap 1 I was like a circus monkey out there.
I never was able to latch back on to the leaders of my group, but over laps 2 and 3 I managed to pull a few straglers back, and hold them off for a 7th place finish. I would have liked to have finished better, obviously, but alls you can do is alls you can do. I had a lot of fun, and was pleased at how I was able to recover from the initial hot start and stupid pole incident.
By lap 3 I was feeling strong. Funny how that works. I was just getting ready to rock and roll and the race was over. But I used the day as a chance to push my heart rate, work on my techy switchback singletrack skillz, and test a couple of new techniques with my in-race nutrition. I ditched the bottles, which was a good move, because the course was dusty and hot and would have made for, well, hot and dusty liquids. I went with my old CamelBack, and in principle it was a good idea, but it was horribly uncomfortable. My Wingnut Assault is en-route, so my small CB had to do the trick. The 2.5, while larger, would have been more comfy then what I was wearing. Anyway, I had cold clean water on a course that would have made bottles a nuisance.
I also flavored some plain PowerGel with this and it worked really well. I think I had to much RioVida though, it was a bit sweet, and to liquidy.
Overall it was a good day. It would be easy to get frusterated with the result, but I have to remember that I use these XC races as a chance to get a workout done in a competitive environment. I finished well enough to score a few team points, and got to catch up with a lot of people I havn’t seen since last year. So the day was a success. I will be penciling in a few extra interval workouts though for the coming weeks. I want to top off that high end reserve so I can call on it when needed on the 24th.
Next week the ICUP heads to Deer Valley for some serious pain. I will be there though, the XC course will incorporate some of the E100 route, and I will need all the recon for that race that I can get.