Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MASS Bikeline Fair Hill XC

Roadie friendly mountain bike courses are awesome. I'm not ashamed to admit that. I like to pedal (it is a bike after all) and courses that allow me to pedal often translate to an not completely shitty result for me. Fair hill has a lot of pedally parts, as well as a lot of turny parts where you can pretty easily hit a tree. 
Here is a great picture of me pedaling and not hitting trees. 

How it all went down. 3 laps total. 22.5 miles. We started fast. There were awkward pacelines, as mountain bikers do best. Everything shook out and I found myself at the front of a group of 5 or 6 people, in places 8 to something-teen. Most importantly I had a teammate (Steve) in the group! Steve and I pulled the group around, sitting up a bit in the open sections to see if anyone would come around. it stayed like this until the last lap. 
Early on, somebody fell right behind Steve on a rooty uphill section, blocking the entire trail. Being the gentlemen we are, Steve an I surged to get a gap. we had a pretty good thing going until I messed up on a rocky stream crossing and had to dismount and run. I then whacked Steve with my bike (I was not carrying it like a javelin) and slowed him down. The group caught back on, 7 riders strong. MASS payouts go down by 5 bucks a place, so there was like 30 bucks sitting in the group that I wanted to buy beer with. I was determined to win this group. 
I knew in the last section of swoopy trail (with little pedaling) I wasnt quite as fast as one or two fo the guys. I wanted to lead that section. All I had to do was get to the top of the steep climb first. Well in one of the fields an attack went off, I followed it, but lost my first wheel status. I then couldn't overtake the Scott rider (Zack Morrey) on the climb. We did get the group down to just 3 at this point setting up for the last few minutes of racing. 
Zack did a great job dismantling the last bit of swoopy trail. I struggled to hold his wheel and not hit a tree. After the rock garden, I was able to make a pass and surge by. I got a decent gap on my 2 chasers and was nearly certain I was safe. I kept waiting for the turn onto the finishing straight... which seemed to take its time in appearing. 
And then Ethan Frey closed the gap to me... not good. I was a little blown from the surge and had misjudged how much trail was left. I was going to have to sprint. Sprint. In a mountain bike race. After my initial panic, I remembered I race road bikes. "YOU GOT THIS". I sat up a little to recover, knowing I wouldn't be passed in the narrow trail. I picked the right gear, locked of my Lefty fork.. picked the smoothest line... set everything up perfectly...launched my sprint... and promptly got out sprinted. I wish I could say it was closer, but he got me pretty good. 9th place. Plenty of beer money.
Yep still there.
Lauren... being still very new to mountain bikes, had a simple strategy. Go full roadie on everything she could pedal on, and not die by hitting any trees. Sounds kind of like what I do. Well it worked pretty well. She took the holeshot... and in the parts she couldn't pedal, only 1 girl ended up passing her, putting her second overall. 
Shredding the Gnar.

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