Monday, May 17, 2010

Three to make one

I decided to race the Brighton stage race this weekend. The race was three races spread out over two days with the lowest total time for all three races the winner. I haven't done one of these races since the stage races were held at Whiskey Creek near Ludington and that was probably five years ago.

Saturday's race was a short time trials on a section of trail that was not very singlespeed friendly. The first half was very tight with many hills that did not allow for a fast entrance, and then the second half was a lot faster. It was hard to pick the correct gearing. I geared easy and prerode the course about an hour before my start. It was probably a mistake as it was hard to keep the heart rate down in the preride. I ended up third our of the three in my class, about 40 seconds behind first.

Later in the day we had a short track race, similar to a cyclocross course in that it was a mass start over a mix of grass and pavement with tight corners. The only thing missing were the barriers. I got a pretty good start but was getting passed by geared riders in the straight section of pavement. I would work my way back up to and around them, usually passing them in a corner or up a hill. I ended up fairly high among the entire group but more importantly I made up about 22 seconds on the 1st and 2nd place guys.

That left us with the Sunday XC race to determine who would win the stage race. I was in second now, about 17 seconds behind 1st and seven seconds ahead of third. I didn't preride the course this time but just warmed up as usual. The race on Sunday had more racers in every class since some people could not do the stage race but still wanted to compete in the XC race. It had its own awards separate from the stage scoring.

At the start the third place guy went out hard and it wasn't too long before he began pulling away with the eventual winner of the day. I was in front of the stage leader until I bobbled on a hill and he got in front. He also pulled away. I saw the third pace guy fixing his front wheel and after asking if he was OK I sped past. Later on the lap another SS got past me but I stayed on his wheel and eventually we caught the stage leader right before the end of the first lap.

I also passed the guy who pulled me as he also started to fade. I tried to turn up the heat to build a lead but I could still see the stage leader behind me every now and then. Eventually I lost him but I knew he was not far behind. Surprisingly the third place guy caught back up and passed me again. But to show how fast things can change, just as I came out of the trail toward the finish of my second lap, there he was with his chain in his hand. One more lap to go.

I kept looking back but could not see the stage leader but kept on the attack, not wanting to assume anything. I started to develop cramps in various parts of my legs but worked through them with additional Endurolytes and HEED. I finally finished the third lap and was grateful that the race was over. AS it turned out, I finished 2nd in the XC race and far enough in front of the stage leader to take first for the stage race.

I'm not sure what series race I will be doing next, it may not be until a month from now. In the meantime I have the Lake Orion races coming up plus plenty to do with MICA. And still some trail work as well.

Out west there is not much new news. There is a feeling that the baby may be coming early; it's still three weeks from the due date but could really be any time now. Sandy is still looking for employment but is being kept very busy with watching the grand kids and helping around the house and farm.

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