Monday, August 10, 2009

MASS Neshaminy Race Report

Subtitled: How to keep at least one wheel sliding at all times.
The MASS Neshaminy Race was cancelled in May due to rain… I was bummed about this and went and raced, I mean rode Steward 7
miles and pouted for 2 days after my brakes exploded.
Saturdays weather was mint, 79, sunny, slight breeze…Sunday… well… I woke up at 1am to drain my over hydrated bladder and saw rain/ and trees blowing sideways. Uh oh. When I got up for real in the morning, it was still pouring. I didn’t see anything online saying the race was called off, again, so I took to the air compressor to mount some tires with actual tread on them, not the dry condition stuff I had been pushing. I’m sure my downstairs neighbors were stoked with the noise on a Sunday morning. Screw them, everyone knows its Totally PRO to swap tired hours before a race.

I never fully got into full blown race mode. I felt tired all week and kind of just trying to get past this weekend and use it as prep for Windham. (Totally PRO Excuse 1)
Lauren and I rolled up to the venue, I registrated (new word), embrocated, and headed over to the single track to test out the tire setup. It was greeeeeesssy, slippery peanut butter consistency mud. Total drifting fest,
just ask this guy. Slide through everything, don’t crash on the logs and bridges, and try not to rip your tires up on the rocks.
I got a great start, partially due to sprinting off the line,

allowing me to hold 5th or 6th wheel into the woods. By the time we got out of the prologue loop, 3 people had crashed in front of me putting me in 3rd for a brief moment in time. I settled into pace and met the bane of my human existence roughly 35 minutes into the race, a rocky creek bed of a descent… yeah I suck at those. “On your left” is the sound 3 guys on 29er’s make as they fly by you while you and your tiny 1300 gram 26 inch wheels try to pick and choose your way through the rocks while they simply float over all of them. Luckily for me there is a climb right after this craptacular section. Unfortunately I was so redlined trying t just keep up with the group that went by I couldn’t take back what I lost on the climb only caught one of the riders and was put into no mans land for the remainder of the lap.
On lap 2 I found somebody to ride with, unfortunately it was a Guys rider from behind that had bridged up. I was realizing I was going backwards…uh oh. Luckily he didn’t bring anyone else with him. He quickly gapped me on the same descent I got shanked on lap 1 and I tried to reel him back in on the climb, I kept him in sight and it became obvious that as long as I held my own going down I could take back time on him going back up. I was feeling pretty tired at this point but was riding smooth and correcting some of the first lap line mistakes I had made. I took my feed from Lauren heading into the final lap. Lauren busted out the wellies and shorts...

It was raining now, as if things weren’t wet enough. As I rounded the finish line chicane, Zack heckled me from the other side of the loop. Ok, more people catching me… time to go. Something in my head made me think I could sprint for 35 minutes. I started gunning it. Despite my increase in pace, Chris Beck, who had gone down pretty hard in the prologue caught me and went by, I think the fastest I rode all day was behind him some of his lines were super smooth through the oil slick corners. Riding behind somebody who actually knows what they are doing is almost cheating, you can copy/paste their lines and be almost guaranteed and increase in speed. With about 2 miles to go I was keeping the Guys rider in sight. He bobbled on one of the long bridge sections and I skated by and attacked. I went way into the red and made it out of the woods for 10th place.
I was initially pleased but after looking at the results I left a lot of places within reach in front of me. I should be happy I stayed upright the entire race through. I got some cash, and luckily none of my many new and expensive parts (1 week old drivetrain, month old brakes) detonated. Very pleased. as you can see...

1 comment:

aroth said...

Good luck this weekend. I take it you like the new brakes? I replaced my rear XTR with a CR mag while I was away on business. First ride tomorrow...