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2015-03-29 – TBF MTB Celebration Race Report – 1st Place Pro Open by Ron Shevock

Yesterday, TBF Racing held it’s 5th (!) and final MTB race of the Winter/Spring series.  Since these races start so early in the year (first race occurs in mid-January), and I needed a little bit of a break following a long cyclocross season that also stretched into January, I’ve only attempted to show up to the last two races to see how the legs are feeling.

The first race I showed up for a few weeks ago wasn’t a good indicator as I burped a tire on lap 2 and basically DNF’d, so with this one I was just hoping to put in a strong training effort, and finish the race.

Bike Setup:
Giant XTC Advanced SL 29’er
SRAM XX1 Drivetrain with a a 36T front chainring matted to a Quarq powermeter
RockShox SID XX World Cup front fork (100mm boosted to 120mm)
Nox Composites XCR-29 wheelset
Continental Mtn King front tire
Maxxis Ikon EXO 2.2 rear

Link to my Strava File:
https://www.strava.com/activities/276061912

Lap 1:

The race was 4 laps of a 6.5 mile singletrack circuit with a long gravel start and finish sprint from the timing arch along the shores of Folsom Lake.  As usual I got a bad start and in the first few hundred meters of gravel found myself mid-pack and boxed in but I wanted to get to end of this gravel in the lead so I could be first into the singletrack. Halfway down I was able to break outside and hit the gas to launch to the front and create some separation before the singletrack.

After settling down a few moments later, I noticed that it was already just myself and two other racers peeling away off the front with the other two being the brotherly duo of Curtis and David Duncan.  Satisfied with that separation, I let up a little and the 3 of us rode up to the bench and then down through the next few miles of rolling singletrack towards the Beek’s Bight parking lot.

As we hit the parking lot, I knew I didn’t want to be responsible for pulling all 3 of us around all morning so having a hunch that one of the two Duncan’s would gladly accept a pass if I swung wide in the parking lot to forego the curbside bunnyhop jump back onto the trail, I did just that and rolled back onto the dirt via the slighly longer route through the boulders.  Sure enough, just I’m doing that both Curtis and David both take the faster line popping the curb and then hit the gas.  Perfect 🙂  I then jumped on their tires, let them set the pace a bit and watched their lines.  For the remainder of this first lap, we stayed together and Curtis was at the front setting a pretty high pace.

Lap 2:

The three of us rounded the corner beginning the second lap all together and it was here that David moved to the front.  Then it was Curtis, then me.  We rolled through some flat singletrack twisters and my sixth sense began barking at me that these two guys, being brothers, could possibly try to work together to drop me.  So just as I’m thinking this, whether intentional or not, it seemed as though Curtis left off the gas a little and David was pulling away.  Not wanting any part of those (potential) tactics, I kind of forced a pass around Curtis and then jumped right back on David’s tire to avoid any blocking.

David kept up the pace as we went through the neutral water station on the pavement and I looked back and noticed that Curtis was beginning to drift backwards.  So what I thought earlier could have been team tactics, was more of Curtis just backing off the pace a bit.  From there on out, our gap grew and it was just David and I racing together for the remainder of the race.

Lap2 David and I 2

Lap2 David and I 3

Lap 3:

This lap was fairly uneventful.  David and I stuck together, trading places here and there.  The only meaningful event that occurred to me on this lap was during our climb back up to the bench.  The middle of this climb tips downward for just a bit through a pretty fun rock garden.  It’s nothing crazy technical, but if you hit it just right you can create a small gap causing other riders to burn a match to catch back up and I was able to do exactly just that here.

For those of you on the team that attended our little MTB clinic at Granite Bay back in February, this is the first section that we stopped at to spend some time practicing on  and discussing lines.  Here is an example of when practicing on the MTB really did help!

Rock garden teaching

After riding through this rock garden I glanced back and noticed that I had created a bit of a gap between us (#foreshadowing). For a second, I toyed with the idea of just gunning it right there trying to drop David.  But with another lap and a half to go, I thought I’d wait, and settle for David having to burn some energy to catch back up.

Lap 4:

So now on the last lap, we started the climb to the bench one more time with David in the lead setting the pace.  With what I learned by going through the upcoming rock garden section at the front of mind, I snuck around David and made the pass just before we started the short descent into the rock garden and then tried to fly through this section as quick as I could.

After the rocks I glanced over my shoulder and saw that I may have had an even bigger gap this time then I did on the previous lap, and so NOW it was go time.  I stepped up the pace a bit and started to put some distance between us.

last lap alone

For the remainder of lap 4 I just tried to keep the pace high, and not make any mistakes.  Working smoothly around lapped traffic without delay and being careful not to totally blow myself out just in case I needed something in reserve for the end if David happened to catch back up.   But luckily I was able to maintain that gap to the finish and hold on for the win.  David cruised in behind me just 40 seconds or so back so it was good that I didn’t let up the pace too much as I would have been upon me in an instant.  David is super fun to race against and is getting faster and faster so he’ll be threat to keep an eye on for the remainder of the year!

podium shot

Next up…..some good ol’fashioned mid-week Prairie City racing starting Wednesday and then some USAC races in April with Napa Valley Dirt Classic and the Sea Otter Classic where I want to try and qualify for XC Nationals in July.

23rd Annual Cool MTB Race Report by Ron Shevock

After a week of sunny warm temps, the weather was finally calling for a slight chance of rain and some darker skies today which, in March, can only mean one thing….it must be the time for the annual Cool MTB race!

For 23 years this race has been a ‘season opener’ of sorts for lots of folks in the area and always does a great job raising funds for trails in the Auburn SRA.  It nearly always brings mud, rain, guaranteed wetness with multiple creek and bog crossings and sometimes even snow.  This year was mostly dry and fast but you still had to deal with the 2 or 3 usual creek crossings which left your bike looking like you just finished a cyclocross race.

Last year, I raced in the Single Speed class, but this year I slapped a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain with a 36 tooth front ring on my Giant XTC Advanced SL 29’er and stepped up into the Pro class.

The Pro field here usually draws a decent field and this year was populated by last years’s winner, Justin Thomas from Reno looking extremely fit and fast, past winner Clint Classen from Team Santa Cruz Fox, Brian “the legend” Rouse (yes, Brian, I just called you a legend haha), Sam Guzman and Aron Yevuta from Victory Velo, and several other very fast looking folks on the line from the Cat 1 age groups as well including local HS racer, Nathan Barton.

I never seem to be a good “starter” and I’m generally no threat to contesting a hole shot and today was no different.  But the start was clean at least and I settled into 5th place through the opening twists and turns and opening short punchy climb.  Justin Thomas set the pace for the first few miles, with Yevuta on his heels, then followed by Clint, Rouse, Me, then Nathan Barton.  After the first mile or so we seemed to be getting a gap and I figured that these guys would be my riding partners for next 2 hours or so.

Cool is generally fairly tame trails but at around 2 miles, you hit a fast descent that is just littered with loose rocks and a few ruts that always seem to cause a flat tire or two amongst the group.  Just before the descent, Clint cruised to the front to have a clean shot without any flying debris getting in his way (smart) while the rest of us bounced and clanged our way down on his heels to Salt Creek.

After Salt Creek, you hit a heinous steep climb that no sane person would ever look forward to.  It only takes a few minutes (3 – 4 normally), but with several pitches of 20 – 25%, it just beats you down.  The four of us settled in behind Clint with no one apparently wanting to push the pace too hard or attack too early at this point.  Which was fine by me, but it became apparent while watching Justin Thomas climb that he was just kind of having a walk in the park at this point as he seemed to spin an easy cadence with little effort.

We soon hit the next descent to Knickerbocker creek and I moved around and took the lead here.  I descended fairly cautiously and set myself up for the creek crossing and we all cruised through it uneventfully.  On the long climb out of Knickerbocker, Nathan Barton tested us and threw in some small attacks that we had no choice but to respond to and it appeared that this tactic served to put Clint just a bit off the back of our train and we were now down to four of us (me, Barton, Rouse, and Thomas).

Near the top of the Knickerbocker climb, Barton and Thomas began to get a gap on me and Rouse….and then as we flowed through the rolling terrain over the next few miles Thomas got a bit of gap on Barton and seemed to really be picking up the pace now.

Seeing this, me and Rouse started working together and we caught back up to Barton, while Thomas kept his pace high and probably dangled about 15 seconds or so ahead of us.  The 3 of us start working together on the rolling terrain and mild grades taking some turns putting efforts in to close the gap.  I ended up on the front of our little train on a really fast downhill, and unfortunately, my eyes started watering like crazy and my left contact lens just kind of popped out!  It found a home on the inside of my sunglasses for a bit and then it just fell off.  There was nothing I could about it at this point and figure that I would just have to deal with a lack of depth perception and light blurriness….dang it.

Just after my contact lens popped out, we seemed to be making some ground on Thomas closing the gap to 5 seconds or so when I stuff my tire into a rut that I didn’t see and I  had to unclip and stop at the bottom of a small hill.  Luckily Barton and Rouse were able evade me and they powered on, but just like that they were 20 seconds up on me as they made contact with Thomas.  So where just a few moments ago, there were 3 of us working together to catch back up to Thomas, there were 3 of them ahead of me working together to drop me!  Crap.

So I rolled through Lap 1 4th overall (3rd Pro).  Lap 2 was mostly uneventful for me as I rode the entire lap solo wondering if I could catch back up to those guys but riding a lot more cautiously as I was trying to get used to me new “adjusted” eyesight with only one contact lens.  Every now and then I would take a glimpse over my shoulder and catch sight of Clint maybe 15 – 20 seconds back so I knew I couldn’t just give up or let off the pace too much.

Luckily I survived Lap 2 without any crashes, and began to get some confidence near the end of the lap that I was feeling pretty good despite my eyesight.  I could no longer see Clint patrolling behind me, and on the few open stretches where I could see far down the trail, I would catch glimpses or Rouse’s red kit so I started to chase in earnest.

At the start of Lap 3, I snagged a donut handup from my from Kelly and that gave me a nice punch of rocket fuel to reel in Rouse.  I got within range of him on the steep Salt Creek climb, then finally found his wheel after we crossed Knickerbocker for the 3rd and last time and climbed to the top.  We said hello, gave each other some encouraging words, then each made a few attempts to tear the other’s legs off.  HAHA.

We both realized that neither one of us was really going to drop the other one of us and we just hard mostly together for the last few miles.  We approached the final steep climb with yellow house on the right and I put in pretty hard dig up this that sent SEARING SENSATIONS through my legs and I thought that would have been the end of Brian, but it wasn’t….he still dangled about 5 seconds back and as he recovered on the last rollers and down into the last mud bog by the crowd, he found my wheel again.

Luckily however, I had the advantage going into the mud bog, and I took the safe bridge route to the left.  While I was halfway across the crowd started yelling “he’s going for it!”  and I look over and Brian is trying to pioneer a new line straight through the bog, and I got worried for a second that he was gonna make it but the water mud and slop proved too deep and I was able to exit the bog area first and sprint on ahead to the finish where I just wanted to collapse.

Justin  Thomas ended up staying away off the front to defend his title and Nathan Barton had a solid day finishing 2nd overall. Nathan raced in a Cat 1 age group, so that put me into 2nd position in the Pro field with Brian Rouse 3rd, and Clint Classen not far behind in 4th.

Driving home and trying to text updates to everyone with one contact was even sketchier than racing with one lens.  (KIDDING)
Ron

 

23rd Annual Cool MTB Race – 2nd Place Pro

After a week of sunny warm temps, the weather was finally calling for a slight chance of rain and some darker skies today which, in March, can only mean one thing….it must be the time for the annual Cool MTB race!
For 23 years this race has been a ‘season opener’ of sorts for lots of folks in the area and always does a great job raising funds for trails in the Auburn SRA.  It nearly always brings mud, rain, guaranteed wetness with multiple creek and bog crossings and sometimes even snow.  This year was mostly dry and fast but you still had to deal with the 2 or 3 usual creek crossings which left your bike looking like you just finished a cyclocross race.
Last year, I raced in the Single Speed class, but this year I slapped a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain with a 36 tooth front ring on my Giant XTC Advanced SL 29’er and stepped up into the Pro class.
The Pro field here usually draws a decent field and this year was populated by last years’s winner, Justin Thomas from Reno looking extremely fit and fast, past winner Clint Classen from Team Santa Cruz Fox, Brian “the legend” Rouse (yes, Brian, I just called you a legend haha), Sam Guzman and Aron Yevuta from Victory Velo, and several other very fast looking folks on the line from the Cat 1 age groups as well including local HS racer, Nathan Barton.
I never seem to be a good “starter” and I’m generally no threat to contesting a hole shot and today was no different.  But the start was clean at least and I settled into 5th place through the opening twists and turns and opening short punchy climb.  Justin Thomas set the pace for the first few miles, with Yevuta on his heels, then followed by Clint, Rouse, Me, then Nathan Barton.  After the first mile or so we seemed to be getting a gap and I figured that these guys would be my riding partners for next 2 hours or so.
Cool is generally fairly tame trails but at around 2 miles, you hit a fast descent that is just littered with loose rocks and a few ruts that always seem to cause a flat tire or two amongst the group.  Just before the descent, Clint cruised to the front to have a clean shot without any flying debris getting in his way (smart) while the rest of us bounced and clanged our way down on his heels to Salt Creek.
After Salt Creek, you hit a heinous steep climb that no sane person would ever look forward to.  It only takes a few minutes (3 – 4 normally), but with several pitches of 20 – 25%, it just beats you down.  The four of us settled in behind Clint with no one apparently wanting to push the pace too hard or attack too early at this point.  Which was fine by me, but it became apparent while watching Justin Thomas climb that he was just kind of having a walk in the park at this point as he seemed to spin an easy cadence with little effort.
We soon hit the next descent to Knickerbocker creek and I moved around and took the lead here.  I descended fairly cautiously and set myself up for the creek crossing and we all cruised through it uneventfully.  On the long climb out of Knickerbocker, Nathan Barton tested us and threw in some small attacks that we had no choice but to respond to and it appeared that this tactic served to put Clint just a bit off the back of our train and we were now down to four of us (me, Barton, Rouse, and Thomas).
Near the top of the Knickerbocker climb, Barton and Thomas began to get a gap on me and Rouse….and then as we flowed through the rolling terrain over the next few miles Thomas got a bit of gap on Barton and seemed to really be picking up the pace now.
Seeing this, me and Rouse started working together and we caught back up to Barton, while Thomas kept his pace high and probably dangled about 15 seconds or so ahead of us.  The 3 of us start working together on the rolling terrain and mild grades taking some turns putting efforts in to close the gap.  I ended up on the front of our little train on a really fast downhill, and unfortunately, my eyes started watering like crazy and my left contact lens just kind of popped out!  It found a home on the inside of my sunglasses for a bit and then it just fell off.  There was nothing I could about it at this point and figure that I would just have to deal with a lack of depth perception and light blurriness….dang it.
Just after my contact lens popped out, we seemed to be making some ground on Thomas closing the gap to 5 seconds or so when I stuff my tire into a rut that I didn’t see and I  had to unclip and stop at the bottom of a small hill.  Luckily Barton and Rouse were able evade me and they powered on, but just like that they were 20 seconds up on me as they made contact with Thomas.  So where just a few moments ago, there were 3 of us working together to catch back up to Thomas, there were 3 of them ahead of me working together to drop me!  Crap.
So I rolled through Lap 1 4th overall (3rd Pro).  Lap 2 was mostly uneventful for me as I rode the entire lap solo wondering if I could catch back up to those guys but riding a lot more cautiously as I was trying to get used to me new “adjusted” eyesight with only one contact lens.  Every now and then I would take a glimpse over my shoulder and catch sight of Clint maybe 15 – 20 seconds back so I knew I couldn’t just give up or let off the pace too much.
Luckily I survived Lap 2 without any crashes, and began to get some confidence near the end of the lap that I was feeling pretty good despite my eyesight.  I could no longer see Clint patrolling behind me, and on the few open stretches where I could see far down the trail, I would catch glimpses or Rouse’s red kit so I started to chase in earnest.
At the start of Lap 3, I snagged a donut handup from my from Kelly and that gave me a nice punch of rocket fuel to reel in Rouse.  I got within range of him on the steep Salt Creek climb, then finally found his wheel after we crossed Knickerbocker for the 3rd and last time and climbed to the top.  We said hello, gave each other some encouraging words, then each made a few attempts to tear the other’s legs off.  HAHA.
We both realized that neither one of us was really going to drop the other one of us and we just hard mostly together for the last few miles.  We approached the final steep climb with yellow house on the right and I put in pretty hard dig up this that sent SEARING SENSATIONS through my legs and I thought that would have been the end of Brian, but it wasn’t….he still dangled about 5 seconds back and as he recovered on the last rollers and down into the last mud bog by the crowd, he found my wheel again.
Luckily however, I had the advantage going into the mud bog, and I took the safe bridge route to the left.  While I was halfway across the crowd started yelling “he’s going for it!”  and I look over and Brian is trying to pioneer a new line straight through the bog, and I got worried for a second that he was gonna make it but the water mud and slop proved too deep and I was able to exit the bog area first and sprint on ahead to the finish where I just wanted to collapse.
Justin  Thomas ended up staying away off the front to defend his title and Nathan Barton had a solid day finishing 2nd overall. Nathan raced in a Cat 1 age group, so that put me into 2nd position in the Pro field with Brian Rouse 3rd, and Clint Classen not far behind in 4th.
Driving home and trying to text updates to everyone with one contact was even sketchier than racing with one lens.  (KIDDING)

 

2015-02-08 TBF MTB Classic Race Report by Tofor Lewis


TBF MTB Classic Race Report

By: Tofor Lewis

 

I have always loved racing the TBF MTB series. They are some of my first mountain bike races of the season and are a perfect guide to show how my training is going so far and what I need to improve on or focus more on. Also, who doesn’t enjoy going out and ripping granite bay with some of the fastest guys around? Well, it was safe to say I went into this first TBF race without really knowing what to expect out of myself. I have been training really hard and diligently for the past 3-4 months but with goals of doing well much later in the season, so this race was just a test on my body. Like normal I rolled into the Granite Bay parking lot much later than I was expecting and began rushing to throw my new Folsom Bike kit on (which looks SICK) and hop on my bike for a quick warm-up. After spinning around for a whopping 10 min I worked my way to the starting line and settled into the pack, my race would go off in 3 min.  As I glanced around at the field of riders I was slightly surprised that none of the local rippers showed up. I didn’t have to worry about Ronanimal (Ron Schevock) or the human highlighter (Clint Claasen) that normally show up to rip my legs off. I still had no idea what kind of shape these riders were in and decided I would just kind of sit in for a while and get a feel for the group. The race started and like normal a couple of my high school teammates took off at a crazy pace. Not wanting to immediately destroy myself I grabbed a wheel and sat in around 4th place. I slowly moved up into the second position by the time we reached the first climb up to park bench. I took a quick look over my shoulder and was surprised to see the bright orange helmet and kit of Jason Perez. I wasn’t sure how I missed him at the start because he has always been one of the guys that battles with me at most local races. As we climbed the hill up to the bench I could tell that the pace was slowing down. I took another look over my shoulder and saw the group splitting apart. At that moment I made a conscious decision to go for it. Right before the downhill rock garden I slipped in front of the leader and ripped down the hill. I glanced back at the bottom and saw that I had opened up a slight gap. With eyes narrowed on the trail ahead I took off. The whole race I felt very strong and just kept pushing forward and increasing the time gap. Although I wasn’t necessarily battling it out with anyone, this was one of the toughest races I have done. It started raining on the second lap and turned into the sloppiest mud fest I have ever ridden in. People were literally scattered across the course either with broken down bikes or just face planted in the mud trying to find the will power to pick themselves up and finish. Despite the terrible conditions my new Trek Superfly worked flawlessly which I was super impressed with. Covered head to toe with mud I finished the race with an 8 min gap on second place (Jason). It was safe to say that my training was beginning make a huge difference. It took me two days to finish picking dirt out of my ears, eyes, and hair but despite the rough conditions I am very happy with my results and am beyond excited to get this season underway.

2014-07-05 MTB Marathon Nationals SS Open Race Report by Ron Shevock

Traveled up to Ketchum, ID again this year to race MTB Marathon Nationals for the second consecutive year.
I raced in the Single Speed Open division and was trying to improve upon my 5th place from last year.  But in short, this race was a disaster for me which was disappointing as I had targeted this race early on and I believe that I am a bit fitter than last year.  I believe I made the mistake of racing at altitude while on my 3rd day of acclimation. (The town of Ketchum sits at just below 6,000 feet and the race course loops up to just below 9,000 feet twice).
From everything I’ve read thus far as that it’s best for flatlanders like me (I live in Folsom) to either go up to the race as close to the start as possible (i.e. the night before) or give yourself ample time to acclimate (i.e. 7 – 10+ days).  While the worst time to race is in that 3 to 4 day window when your body is doing it’s best to adapt to the lower oxygen levels.
I traveled to Ketchum on Wednesday 7/2.  Then spent Thursday, 7/3 spinning easy for about 2 hours to get the legs moving again after the long car ride and dialing in my bike.  Felt awesome.  Friday, 7/4 I pre-rode the course at an easy to moderate pace (took about 2 hrs 15 minutes ride time) with just a few harder efforts here and there to open up a little.  Felt less awesome and then the entire afternoon afterwards I was way fatigued, and came down with a bit of a headache that night too.  I was hydrating like crazy so I know that wasn’t an issue.  Saturday morning (race day) and I wake up at 5:45 am to eat prior to my8 AM start time and I’m extremely fatigued an tired.  And unfortunately this malaise continued for the entire race.
As we hit the first climb I was already feeling shelled.  Last year I was able to stay with the leaders this year, but this time, I was instantly 40 seconds back and feeling like crap.  I tried not to worry and hoped I’d come around but I never did.  My headache got worse and I just inched along and tried not to get anybody else’s way.
I ended up pulling myself after the first lap as at the pace I was going I couldn’t imagine being out there as long as I might have been considering I probably would have been slower on the second lap (last year, I ended up pulling a negative split on the second lap, but I knew that just wasn’t in the cards this year).
I went back to my hotel, showered, and immediately slept the entire afternoon away.
I’m still wondering if there were other factors that could have contributed to my performance here (i.e. wondering if I did too much work in the weeks prior to the race, or was overtrained, etc). but I keep coming back to the altitude.
Next year, MTB Marathon Nationals moves to the East Coast somewhere I think…but “regular” MTB XC Nationals moves back West to Bend, OR.  Maybe I’ll pencil that one in….

2014-06-15 XTERRA Richmond East Championships Race Report by Debbie Sullivan

I am so glad that I was able to make the trip out to Richmond for this race! I had heard good things about this race and really wanted to try another championship course out but wasn’t sure how I was going to make it happen.  It was such a blessing how everything came together for this trip. I have gotten to know an amazing network of people in this area as well as Xterra friends! I was holding out hope to go and it came down to everything coming into place in the last week and even better than I could have hoped. From help through my shop, Folsom Bike, to friends that I swim with right down to my awesome massage guy, Tom, all the pieces came together and I owe it to all these people for helping me get there!

My mom was coming out for a visit and flew in on Wednesday so she was here with Ashlyn while I had a buddy pass to fly straight to Dulles on Thursday! I got to stay with great people David and Stephanie Miller who were heading down to the race on Friday. John, Steph and I got out and got a little preride in on Fri afternoon and I had a blast. It was definitely wet from all the rain in the two days prior and the humidity is not something I am used to but that course was so much fun. I got hooked up with an amazing homestay in the area and was so grateful to be staying with Chris Jeffrey. My plan on Saturday was to just do a short run. But as I heard about different parts of the course and looked at the swim in the river I ended up doing a little bit of everything. On this course I was glad I did. It was more than I had planned to do but I was feeling so much better than last time thanks to the amazing work of Dr. Vince Hoffart and my muscle man Tom Self at Massage Vudoo! I think I have found a killer combination there.

Swim start - I'm on the bottom left

Swim start – I’m on the bottom left

Race morning was great the temperatures were down and the humidity was way down and it made for great race weather with our early start.

Swim

The swim was different and fun. You have to swim across current and up the river and zig zag for different bouys with a mini trail run on isle in the middle. I was so grateful that I got in a swim on Saturday and had a good idea how strong the current was and how high I had to aim to make the bouys!  A lot of people had problems, but I felt pretty good with my swim. I felt really relaxed amidst some chaos. I came out of the water right on Shonny’s heels and chased up to transition. I was 8th out of the water, which is pretty good for me.
RVASwim

Bike

DebRVAbike
I jumped on my bike thinking maybe I could try and grab a wheel of Shonny for a minute or two, but nope, by the time I got myself situated she was gone! I pushed down the road and dove into the singletrack. Such a fun course! My first lap went fine. Despite having my share of bobbles, I rode most of my lines fairly clean. There were a few that I realized I needed to change on the next lap. However, when I came around the next lap I was mixed in the age-group race starting their first lap. The first part wasn’t too bad as people were fairly willing to let me pass. I think it helped just a little having people around to push me as opposed to the first lap all alone. David Miller came up behind me and gave me a good push mentally when I really needed one! Then we got to all the technical parts that people were coming off or just walking and that was a little frustrating since I knew my lines for that lap and was forced to walk in the line of age-groupers. It also makes me feel a bit spastic on my bike because I am still trying to race but also forced to sit back and wait. I know this cost some time but I did have a blast on this course! Super fun with technical rocky sections, roots, bridges, creek crossings and riding through drainage tunnels, and of course sections lined with fans and hecklers all dressed up and noisy. Hereis a link to a local article. I was 6th fastest on the bike for the pro field.
Fun section of the course lined with fans :)

Fun section of the course lined with fans 🙂

Run

I came out of transition and onto the run right behind another girl. She was running at a good pace and I was trying to keep with her. I was feeling alright for about a mile and then she just opened up the gap and I could not hang. After running through some streets over railroad tracks you come to the “Myan wall” which honestly was a lot smaller than I was expecting from the way people talk about it. It is a steep scramble/climb up some railroad ties. As I was climbing I saw a girl coming right up behind me. As we ran down the tower, my head was spinning with how many circles we made and she was right on me. I determined not to lose any positions on the run and held fast. I made it through the out and back and to the river crossing and the “dry way” and was again grateful that I had come out to this the day before and knew where I was going through this rocky section. This was my favorite part of this run. Through a stream over boulders and up a little ladder. After that is just a fun section of trail and then the home stretch over the bridge and back to the finish. Through this second half of the run my stomach was NOT happy and I was a little worried. It hadn’t really been feeling great the whole race, but this is where it got bad. I just kept telling myself I was almost there and I could make it without a stop! I finally opened up a gap on the girl behind me through the dry way and made it too the finish. I did not lose any spots on the run! Yay! This is a common problem for me.
Dry way

Dry way

7th place!
I had no idea where I was in the field when I crossed and then Chris came up right away and told me I was 7th. I was so happy to make the last spot in the money for the pro field. This also was good enough to get back in the top 10 in the series.
This race was truly fun XTERRA racing! All aspects of the race had fun challenges of their own and it was a great race! Definitely one to do again.
I definitely have some work to do to catch those ladies ahead of me but this was progress from my last attempt. Next up will be Beaver Creek, CO in July.
More photos here.

2014 Rockhopper Classic XC – California State Champs – Single Speed

In year’s past, I’ve been pretty fired up to race the Rockhopper but this year was different…I had just spent the past week in “recovery mode” from racing my single speed cyclocross bike the weekend prior at the Lost and Found 100 Mile Gravel Race and I was pretty tired all week.  I had just one hard effort mid-week at the Wednesday Night Prairie City Race, but I just felt fatigued and tired there and didn’t really have that great of a race.

So with all that i mind, I didn’t even decide to race Rockhopper until the day before when I finally got my Giant XTC Advanced SL sorted with the right single speed gear.  The year prior I had raced with a 36×21 when we only raced 2 laps…this year, however we were to race 3 laps, so I went with a slightly easier gear of 34×20 (but was essentially the same).

As usual at the race start, they lined us single speeders at the back of the pack of the geared categories that were also doing 3 laps. So we were slotted behind all of the Pro’s and all of the Cat 1 geared age group guys.  The course starts out along a flat section for about 5 minutes before we hit the first small climb of the race, then we descend back down to another extended flat bit before we enter the “meat” of the course which is basically all “up” or “down” with very little flat.  Knowing this, I was pretty content to just hang in the back of the group through these first two flat sections chatting with the other single speed racers and keeping an eye on any carnage that might unfold in front of us. (there actually was a little bit with some geared guys banging some bars or something causing a few minor crashes).

A few minutes in and the flat sections behind me, I figured it was time I could start picking up the pace.  But on this first lap, the single track climbs were just clogged with geared riders.  It was hard for anyone to really go anywhere and we were at the mercy of those at the front of our group setting the pace. There was just no where to go so I had to be extremely patient and move up one by one when little gaps in the trail would appear, until about 15 minutes in when we hit a wide steep gravel road that led up to the first aid station.   Here I was able to pass about 8 – 10 geared riders in one brief attack and finally get my legs opened up a bit and moving a bit faster.

At the end of lap 1 (~40 minutes into the race), I could tell my pace was a bit off time from last year but that was ok.  I didn’t think there were any other single speeders to close to me and I also figured that the increased traffic this year slowed things down a bit.  And lap 2 was much better.  There was much less traffic and about half-way through I could tell I had caught up with some of the faster Cat 1 guys and some of the Pro’s as well.  I fell in with a group of them and we suffered through the heat and encouraged each other to keep the pace up.

I finished the second lap at nearly the same pace as the first (look at the lap times they were just 1 second off of each other), so I please to be able to stay at a consistent pace.  However, with no other single speeders in the rear view mirror I gave into the temptation to back off the gas a little and my Lap 3 time was nearly 5 minutes slower than Lap 1 and 2.   So it was nice to be able to relax a little, enjoy the last lap, and cross the finish line in around 2 hrs and 10 minutes.

Also, I was stoked to learn that my team mates Tofor Lewis, Cole Davis, and Brian Birtch each won their respective categories as well!

Next up…a two week block of hard training for some final preparation for MTB Marathon Nationals in Ketchum, ID on July 5th…

Open Single Speed Podium along with Dylan McReynolds in 3rd and Josh Hughes in 2nd.
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And since this was the California State Championship race, I won the right to this State Champ jersey for next year. Saweet!
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