This my 6th time doing the XC, i was in the 45 Expert race, which was really stacked this year! My goal was to beat my time of 2:32 of last year by 5 minutes. My climb went well 1:03, 5 minutes faster! After descending Sunrise trail I started to get my first twinge of cramps so I slowed my pace down and downed my second round of supplements. My 2 practice runs this week really paid off! I only had 1 person pass me through the baby heads. I was flying! I made it through Pauley Creek, my usual cramping spot, cramp free, dang I;m killing it! About 10 minutes later more cramping, but I could ride through it but it hurt like hell.
My race changed dramatically as I was flying down one of the trails and then the trail went down a steep rock face. I have no idea what happened, but my bike flew out from underneath me and I landed hard on my left but cheek.
There was a course marshal right there, when I crashed, as I tried to hear what he was saying to me, another racer flew over the rocks and right in to me and knocked me down, hard! Now I had a nice matching set of bruises on both sides of my body, my Bibs were ripped to shreds, and Mr Happy was hurting!! The course marshal got my bike and straighted my bars up and told me I was ready go? Ready to go? Crap, I guess I have to get back on my bike. I knew I had about 30 minutes to go and believe me I wanted to get done ASAP.
Going down the next sections of trail was scary to say the least, more rocks etc. Finally I made to third divide, then passed some riders then hammered 1st divide my favorite part of the course.
When I hit the pavement going to the finish I checked my time, wow,…..I hammered to the finish and finished with time of 2:27. Exactly 5 minutes faster then last year despite the crash. I would have won last years race with this time, but due to the stacked field this year it placed me in 7th. Oh well, thats racing against the big boys.
I’m covered with bruises and road rash, but other then that I’m OK. Sleeping is impossible since everything hurts. I’m sure it will be ok soon.
I came into this race with zero expectation since I had surgery just six weeks ago for this in my quad. I was please to be able to climb with the leaders for the first fifteen minutes, until the three Olympians (AC, Taberley, Sheppard) decided that it was time to race.
I hung on the back of the chase group with my future collegiate teammate John Bennett for a while, but then they gapped me a little and I continued riding at my own pace. This turned out to be a good plan since I was fairly steady past the feed station at the switchback and caught John and another guy. I surged up the final climbs out of the woods to the saddle and caught several more shattered members of the chase group and hit the saddle in about 10th. I caught one guy on Sunrise and another shortly before Pauley Creek, putting me in 8th place (waaaay ahead of expectations) and held that spot down the hill.
My new 23 pound Blur XC was climb, descending, and pedaling nicely and all with its 120mm Fox fork and 68.5* HA, but just before the climb up to 3rd Divide my hub seized up! I rode fixie style to the top but then it broke free on the fast descent. As a result I was freewheeling in both direction and had to run every flat and uphill section from then on. Man, there are a lot of flat sections after that. It might be 20+ mph while pedaling, but running was slow going. I think I ran for well over half an hour, and I probably need new cleats now.
For those that are interested, I has a Stan’s Olympic wheelset with American Classic hubs, and they were a bit over a year and half old. If you ask me, (que Ahhhnold voice) I just gave them too much POWAH, YAH? I would have used the DT 240 wheelset that came with the bike, but I couldn’t get my 2.4 Mutanoraptors to set up tubeless on them.
At the Butcher Ranch intersection I was on pace to break 2 hours and bag a top ten… instead I finish over 2:20, but I still beat several pros. Yippie. I’m building a Stan’s wheel on a 240s hub now so this doesn’t happen again, and very much looking forward to training with John and teaming up to put a massive hurt on west coast collegiate racers.
edit: I just looked at the results, and I still beat Brian Lopes. Sucker!
No pics or anything, but here’s my d-ville story.
Before I start, this was my first xc/am race so I wasn’t expecting much. I came into the race on Saturday without ever having ridden the course, a very bad idea. I had the heaviest bike in All-Mountain at just about 38lbs, which was outfitted with flats, a single ring up front and some wire bead tires. I guess I like to make things difficult on myself. LoL
Anyway I showed up late and started in the back of the pack. My left crank came loose and would not stay tightened on the way up so I had to stop and fix it a lot. This happened exactly 18 times by the time I reached Paulley’s. I made it ok up the climb, but could have done a lot better with a better bike set up. Once I got to Pauley’s, I passed a whole lot of people on the dh until my chain broke and I had to stop and fix that. I thought bad luck, whatever, at least I finished. I figured I’d be able to make up a ton of time on the dh.
Sunday-So my run started good, until at the top of butchers the little yellow plug on my camelpack fell off, and all of my water leaked all over me. I kept going anyway. But then, just after the butcher’s rock water fall thing, my chain snapped, again. I threw my bike off the trail and started to walk back up the trail and look for my master link. This next part is quite unbelievable, but I was then swormed by bee’s and got stung in the face, arms and legs. I then pulled a 180, grabbed my bike and started running down butchers. So essentially, I had to finish my run without a chain from the rock waterfall thing on butchers. So if you saw a chain in the middle of the trail up there, it was mine. Riding without a chain didn’t work to well. Downieville is really flat minus the third divide and a few parts of butchers so my race run became a push party.
Oh well, I’ll be back next year with a little more preparation, and hopefully some better luck. Now if only the swelling from the bee stings on face would go down.