Monday, June 12, 2006

Nathrop - CRAP

Went racing again on Saturday and may as well have stayed home. The course in Nathrop is not one of Colorado's big mountain courses but it can be fun. It is held on a ranch at the base of Mt. Princeton. Racing is mostly on cow paths around the ranch. The course has one short steep climb, a long mellow grinder, a long mellow descent and a quick technical descent. That's it. Takes about 35 minutes per lap.

I got down to the site early Saturday so I could ride a lap for warm-up was feeling pretty good when just at the bottom of the on real downhill my front tire goes flat. Not overly worried I put a tube in and finish the lap, go back to the car and inspect the tire. Things look good so I grab another tube and CO2 for the race. Also make a not of all the thorns and cactus along the course. I line up in the front row for the race and right from the gun settle into 2nd place. Sitting right behind Steve who won the first race down in Angel Fire. About 1/2 through the first lap another guy surges ahead and I jump on his wheel, feeling pretty strong and liking the 2nd place position. One other guy is right behind me then a pretty big gap to 4th. On the long grind of a climb on lap 2 my rear wheel starts to go flat. I can feel it squishing along. Knowing that we had a big gap I decide to stop, give it a shot of air and hope the sealant works for the rest of the race. I drop from 2nd to 3rd and am on my bike right when the 4th place rider is coming through. Probably lost about 40 seconds, but feel confident I can catch up to the leaders. Now this is where things go bad. On the downhill I hit a rock and my front tire (now with a tube instead of my normal tubeless) goes flat and I fly over the bars. I get up thinking I'll still be ok but with the front tire flat, a cut arm and the rear wheel already losing pressure from my attempt fix earlier the race is done.

I was pretty pissed off, as I was riding strong and know another podium was in the cards. I never really felt like I was in the red zone during the race and was just waiting until the last lap to make a move. Who knows what would have happened.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday Riding

Well as the race season is now at hand I'm trying to ensure I round out my fitness and get a lot of time on the mountain bike. This morning I got up early to ride at White Ranch. The early riding is good for multiple reasons; cool weather, little trail usage, and home early. I like riding White Ranch as it has a great climb that can be done multiple times and multiple options for the downhills. Considering all the climbing I did early this week I was feeling pretty good. When I rode on Thursday and Friday I was feeling dead, so was not expecting a lot on the climbs today. At the beginning of the ride I was having a hard time finding my rhythm, but about 1/2 way up the climb I started to get going and elevate the heart rate. The descent back to the base was quick (after about 35 minutes of climbing) making the second climb hard with little recovery. I stayed fairly strong but couldn't ride as much of the climb in the middle ring. Oh well the ride was good and I felt good on both the climb and the DH.

Here is a view from the top of the climb looking out over the northern suburbs. You can see North Table Mountain in the right of the picture.

Here is the Yeti with its training wheels on. I have a set of race wheels this year that drop the race weight by almost two pounds. Hopefully the training on the heavy wheels will help make me fast on race days.

I'm not sure if all the climbing training I've been doing is going to help that much in the next race. Nathrop is a pretty flat course more suited to time trials than climbing. I figure power is power though and the rest of the season is about big mountain courses so the climbing will pay off at those. Nathrop is next weekend and is the first double of the season. The cross country is Saturday and Sunday is short track, both of which count towards the season standings in the MSC. I'm hoping to do good there, finished 3rd in 2004 and 2nd in 2005; hopefully this year I can finish off the podium.