Fools Gold

I have wanted to do this race for several years. When the idea was brought up, I was really hoping it could work out. My original thinking was to camp at the start/finish area and hang out and have a good time. But, that plan was not followed and we went the hotel route. I was fine with that. I am sure I would sleep better there. It would have only been better if it was a little closer.

The week before the race I was not even sure if this was going to happen. With the hurricane moving its path right to where the race was going to be, it was all up in the air. Thankfully there was not as much rain as it first looked and although there was a lot of damage to the trails there was some workers that put in a lot of effort to get the trail ready for the race. When I was out there I could not believe how many trees were cut and debris was moved off of the trail. It was obvious that there was a lot of work put in to make the trails ready for us. They could not get all of the trail cleared and the race was shortened to 47 miles. That is why I said it was the 60 ish. I was a little disappointed, but after seeing how much work they put in, I am just thankful that the trails were as awesome as they were.

 

After the drive down there, we checked in and went for a little spin around the hotel. There was a pretty cool little sub division that was on a hill side or well it was supposed to be a sub division. All the roads were paved and ready, but not a single house was there and the grass was grown pretty tall. We then grabbed a bite to eat and got things ready for the next day. I was a little nervous as I thought it was a good idea to change to the singlespeed class. I had also changed bikes the week before from what I had been riding with one gear. After the previous weekends ride I started to change the set up for the race gearing and stuff. I had some issues with noises and things not working as well as it should. I started to stress, but some how it all worked out last minute. This night I still had some concerns that not everything was as good as it should be.

 

 

We got up early to make the trip to the starting area. Some how we got the worker to get most of the breakfast stuff out way before it was supposed to be. This was good since it kept us from stopping some where and eating things that I really didn’t need to eat. The morning trip over was not too bad and we were at the starting area before I knew it. We were welcomed in to the parking lot with the awesome view below. We signed in and started to get the rest of our stuff ready.

Of course I was stressing out. Trying to decide if I wanted to put anything in the drop bag or not all while waiting in the long line for the facilities. With the race being a little shorter it seemed to be the consensus to not use a drop bag or well it seemed like it. I just put everything in my pocket that I thought I would need and could get any extras from the rest stops. I was just hoping that I would not forget anything like I normally do.

Soon enough I was finding a spot to line up. I didn’t want to get too close to the front, but I didn’t want to be at the back either. I knew there was some road stuff early and my gearing choice would be slower than the geared riders. I picked a place in the upper middle hoping to be in an area where I could steal some drafting when the road went past my bike speed. I was feeling a little out of place as I looked around. I was just hoping to be in the right place at the right time. Soon enough there was a sound and then people were off. I looked around and said I guess that was the start LOL.

I was trying hard to go as fast as I could with out going too hard and blowing myself up. Normally I do a lot better when I can warm up slow. This was a faster pace than I prefer, but thankfully it was on the road and had enough down hills to keep the wheels moving. I found myself in the company of another SS rider. It seemed like we were going a similar pace so I just hung out there for a while. We caught another SS rider and we all rode together for a while. I heard the one guy talking to the other about gearing and he was running the same gear that I was. I figured he would be a good one to hang with since our pacing should be similar. When we hit the first climb I found myself pulling away from the duo and wanted to slow down, but I was feeling like it was the right pace and kept moving forward.

A little bit farther up the hill I could see E2. It took me a little bit to reel him in but once I was there I created a gap. I was hoping we could keep together as I really enjoy riding with Eric. Once I was down the hill and it started to have a little more flat areas he caught back up. I hopped on his wheel and did the SS spin coast shuffle way better than I have ever done and stayed on his wheel. Then we started to climb again and my pace was not the same as his and I pulled away again. This was short lived as he caught me again once it leveled out. I did the shuffle again and could stay with him. Some where around this point while we were riding together I could see Bushong up ahead. He was not feeling good the night before and I might have played a part in talking him in to riding. I am sure he would have wondered what could have happened if he didn’t race.

I was hoping that he would jump on and the three of us would ride together for a while, but that didn’t happen. I made a quick stop at the first rest stop to top off my one bottle. I was not sure how far we were going or how much liquid I would need. E2 got by me here but once again when we started going up I caught and passed him. I was starting to get concerned that I was going too hard. I didn’t think I should be dropping him on the climbs. He is a very good climber, but I was just doing what the bike felt like it wanted to do. A SS has some set paces that the set gearing just goes better. I was doing everything I could to keep in those ranges and not have to dig too deep. I could not believe how well I was climbing, but still wondered if I could sustain it.

I found myself behind a female rider that was holding a good pace for me. It was a little slower on some of the climbs, but not slow enough that I thought I was not going hard. She was ripping the down hills and helped me be more confident on what was coming up since I could see someone ride it before me. Somewhere along the Bull Mountain loop we hit a steep single track section. I am pretty sure it was the 3rd steep section. It was not as bad as the first two, but next thing I knew I heard a pop and then my chain was on the ground. I said I broke my chain as I was pushing up the hill and told her to keep up the good work.

I had just put a new chain on a couple days before. The new gear ratio needed another link and I was not very happy with how the chain was working with the added link. That and I had some other issues with the drive train that I thought a new chain would do the trick. I ended up with a Shimano chain that I have not used for a while.  They normally come with new chain pins that break off and not a quick link. I did pick up an extra quick link to have just in case. I guess I should not have used the pin to put the chain together and stuck with the quick links that I have had good luck with. This is where my chain came apart. I took what was left of the link off and then went to put the quick link on. I found part of the pin still stuck on the other side of the chain and had to get my chain took back out and take it out. Then when I tried to use the new quick link I could not get it to lock in. I don’t know if that part of the chain was messed up some since the pin pulled out or what, but I could not get it to work. The last time I tried it flew apart and half of the quick link went flying. Dammit! I will never find that.

I dug in to my little tool pouch and found a back up 9 speed quick link that I have had in there for a long time and never needed. I was so glad that I still had that in there. Once I got that out, the chain went together really easy. I took a minute to eat a gel and take a quick natural break that I needed since shortly after the start. While I was sitting there trying to fix the chain E2 and a lot of other riders went by me. I had put in a lot of work to pass these guys and here they just go by. Once I was back up and running, I hopped on the bike and took off. I had a little extra adrenaline to push me for several miles.

I started picking off riders left and right. I stopped at the last rest stop to fill up my bottle again and have a little coke to help keep me going. I have to admit that when I was climbing the chunky road again I was moving pretty good. There were several riders that I went flying by. I really didn’t know what to think. I am not normally that strong of a climber. I can normally climb about everything, just not that fast. At this point I knew we were getting close enough to the end that I had to keep pushing my pace. I was also a little worried that when we hit the last hard climb that was discussed, I hoped I had the legs left to do it. Then at some point I was bombing down the other side and it clicked. That WAS the hard climb! My spirits lifted again and I had the motivation to push the pace to the end.

I was moving the best that I could on the road sections. Several high rpm cadence spins with a tuck to try and keep the pace going. For some reason I got paranoid and kept looking over my shoulder that I was going to get caught by another single speeder. I also kept trying to see if I could catch a glimpse of E2 up ahead. I was hoping that my pace up the climb helped me bridge the gap. I started to get excited once I turned on to the road in to the retreat. I passed a couple riders and kept the hammer down. That is until I made that turn on to the grass. I forgot all about being told about that earlier in the morning. That section just about killed me. It was a freshly mowed field that was not very smooth and also the sun was out and just baking you. I just kept turning the pedals over and could not wait to make it to the finish line. I pulled a pretty weak wheelie, but the ride deserved one.

I ended up in 11th place in the single speed class and 114th overall. I had a finishing time of 4:33. I would have also finished 31st in the 40-49 age group if I would have stayed in the original class that I signed up in. E2 finished just 3 minutes ahead of me. Considering that I was stopped for 10 minutes to fix my chain, I guess I did get pretty close to catching him. Those 3 minutes would have moved me up 13 spots in the overall. I am super happy about how well I rode. That was the best that I have ever felt for a longer endurance race. I still feel like I would have been able to finish pretty strong if the race was not shortened, but it is really hard to say.

I really enjoy doing these races. Going places that I normally would not go and then having to dig deep to be able to complete the distances. Maybe some day I will be to the point that I will want to push it to the 100 milers. That might be a little while yet. I would like to get a little more competitive in the distance that I am already doing. The other thing that makes these trips even better is when I do them with great people. Bushong and E2 have been a huge reason that I want to do more of these events. It is always a great time with a lot of laughs hanging out. I even enjoyed having Kruger around. Maybe I was just a little less stressed out than the last trip :-).

Good times with good people. What more can you ask for?

Well other than my new shirt 😀

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I have to start out by admitting that I have been hesitant on immediately writing a couple race reports. I would be lying if I said I have been too busy, the truth is I didn’t want to write them. Since we are in control of our online persona, we (mostly) only share the better things in our lives on social media. So I held off on reporting until I had some of these good times to balance out the not-so-good.

The Ugly:DINO Versailles, 7/16/17 This was the worst race I’ve ever had, hands down. I hadn’t really planned on this race and I wasn’t really in form at the time, but I figured I’d go anyways. My legs felt pretty weak during warm-up but I started out holding the pace of a guy in front of me, who was moving us through the pack. About the middle of the first lap the bottom fell out. I crashed. Hard. We had just passed a guy and were barreling down a hill on a relatively easy descent. I lost focus for a second, and my front wheel got just a little bit off track and it slid out. My glasses went flying off my face and my handlebars were turned. In a cartoonish fashion I searched for my prescription sunglasses then straightened out the handlebars. I was shaken up and was now gun shy on carrying any speed and my legs just checked out. I rolled along and towards the end of the first lap I reached down to grab my water bottle… gone. I must have lost it during the crash as well. The second lap was torture, I was running on empty. Then to add insult to injury, my stomach turned on me. Riding a mountain bike on rough single track is about the last place you want to be when you have to take a dump. I finished and headed straight to the restroom. 10th 30-39 age group. 33/54 Cat 2. Side note: I hate that they pronounce this place Ver-sales, but I guess I can’t say much coming from Du-boys county.

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Battle scar from Versailles

The Bad: DINO SWW  8/20/17          I love this track, so I was excited to race here again this year. Last year I had a good race here and was hoping to replicate that result. For some reason, this race was largely forgettable though. The track was fun and fast, but I went out too hard. I charged up to second place, but I didn’t have the legs to sustain that pace. My lack of training between Versailles and this race was obvious (having races being rained out and rescheduled all year really messed with my training and motivation, plus I was on a mild Captain Ahab like streak of trying to catch a big bass this year and spent a lot of time fishing). I was losing a few spots each lap, until the final lap I hopped on to the back of a couple riders across a long straight stretch and got one position back before the finish. Another bad race. Surprisingly my time was better than last year, but I finished much further down the pack. I’m guessing the track was a little faster this year. 9th 30-39 age group. 37/56 Cat 2.

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Looked good for the picture at the beginning

The best thing that happened to me in mountain biking this year however happened after the race. For each DINO race entered your name was placed in a drawing, and my name was drawn out for a set of new carbon wheels! My luck was beginning to turn.

The Good: Ben Hawes 9/10/17    The few days leading up to this race foreshadowed how this race ended up. I had finally caught my 5 pound fish on Wednesday. On Friday I had a nice run with Kendra and the dog in Huntingburg’s 5-5-5K. Saturday, Shay and I went 1st and 2nd overall in the Jasper Engines 5k, and my name was drawn out for a new bike at the company picnic. Everything was coming up roses.

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A little bit of long arming to add that extra weight

The weather was perfect for the race on Sunday, but there was a disappointingly small turnout. This was a rescheduled race, so I’m going to assume this was partially the reason. We started the race in two different waves which led to a mild incident where the trail crossed over itself. Both the waves arrived at the intersection at the same time creating a hectic start to the race. After the confusion I settled in and was riding third. The three of us broke away from the field, but soon I heard a rider come up behind. The guy in second made a small mistake and he was passed by the two of us behind him. I rode on the wheel of the guy in first for most of the first lap, but he had a little too much for me, and the guy in third moved around me at the start finish line. I kept pace for a while but he slowly moved away from me. I continued to ride hard throughout the second lap and felt powerful for the first time in a while. I finished 3rd overall Cat 2, 1st in my age group, a minute off the pace of first place.

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The year is now over for XC races, but I’m hoping to continue on with the strong training I’ve had the past few weeks but with a different focus. I may race a longer mountain bike race in October, and Shay and I plan on running a half marathon in November. Does anybody know how to keep a winning streak like this going? It will eventually come back down to normalcy I know, but I’m enjoying it now.

Griffin Park Dino XC

Bentcrank's Blog

I am foraging new areas with this race report and not really sure what to think about it. Let me start with the week leading up to this race. I was being asked if I was going to attend this race or not. I really didn’t have anything on the calendar that I could not miss that should keep me from racing this race. I typically am not really in to XC racing that much, so I did not have a huge desire to attend. I was leaning toward just staying home and putting in a long ride here. The week leading up to the race I was starting my 3rd week in a row of feeling sick. I was still riding, but coughing and over all just feeling run down.

My arm continued to get twisted about attending. It turns out that several team members were going to be…

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What’s my age again?

As I creep closer to turning 30, the question seems to keep coming up about how I feel about it, with most of the inquisitions being met with a good-humored dismissal.  But because we do place an emphasis on every ten year milestone of our lives, I can’t help but think about it from time to time.  So this past weekend I intentionally set out with a mindset of “run around like I’m in my young twenties again.” Meaning that I was not going to schedule and prioritize my weekend just on my mountain bike race, but try and jam pack as much as I could into the weekend.

The weekend started out Saturday morning with the Celestine Streetfest 5K & 10K.  Knowing that I had a mountain bike race the next day, along with placing a large (odds against me) bet on the race with Adam Schroering, I opted for the 5K version.   Before the race started, I planned to run the race at a good pace, but trying not to burn myself up for the bike race the following day.  However, once the race started and people were out in front of me, my pre-race logical thoughts were thrown out and it was race on.  I guess that lack of rationale better fit my weekend theme anyways.  The course was hilly which helped me a bit I think, and I ended up running a pretty decent race.  Good enough for 2nd overall in the 5k, and a free breakfast compliments of Adam.  Shout-out to Ben Gessner and all the rest of the folks who put on the run, it was great.  Also thanks to the kid who beat me for being only a freshman in high school, not being able to accept the prize money, and making my morning a little sweeter.

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Finishing the 5K

After the breakfast and a couple drinks, I continued on my quest to live like a young 20 year old.  I took the dog over to the lake and fished from a kayak for a couple hours then got cleaned up for Nathaniel and Keegan’s wedding.  Now this is where I will have to say I cheated, my wisdom with age trumped my younger self thought process.  A few years ago there is no doubt that I would have let the drinks flow with a devil-may-care attitude, and woke up the next morning with a question mark of how I’d feel for the race.  Not so for this 29 year old.  I kept myself in check with just a couple drinks, and tried my best at dancing sober (no pictures for that).

Lucas, Gadlage, Lovins, lil Obe, and I all met up early Sunday, loaded up the Team Adventures trailer and set off for Terre Haute and the DINO Griffin Bike Park race.  Riding along with the guys and having the team camaraderie was my number one reason for wanting to join the team.  It makes for a lot more fun when you have some guys along to shoot the shit.  Thanks again Lucas for the ride.  At the race we also met up with Reed, Sam, and Bob, having a solid Team Adventures turnout.

After getting registered and changed, we all set out to pre-ride the course.  We had plenty of time, but after our local trail expert Lucas left Gadlage and I hung out to dry, the two of us found ourselves stuck doing the entire loop with the start time quickly approaching.  We got back to the trailer with 10 minutes to spare, just enough time to quickly get ourselves prepped.

I got to the line and lined up with the 29 and under age class.  Looking around at that age class is a strange sight, with such a wide range of human sizes.  The race started off down a long gravel road to sort out riders before getting to the single-track.  I picked a few people off, and had my eyes set on a kid in a blue Giant kit who was no bigger than 5’, 80 pounds.  I thought that I would have to get around this little kid before we got to the trail or he would be holding me up.  He held his position and got to the woods in front of me, and after a few minutes, I didn’t see him again until the finish line.

The race course at Griffin was awesome.  Fast, flowy, but kind of tight.  After a few initial hiccups and hitting a berm completely wrong, I settled in.  By lap two there was one guy right in front of me, but neither of us could break away from each other.  We got to talking a little, we told each other our age so we knew that we weren’t directly racing each other. He was only 14. (Although 29 & under is the starting group, it is broke up between 20-29, and 19 & under).   We decided to form a little alliance.  We pulled and paced each other, which helped on some of the long flats.  He ended up breaking away from me at the end, as my legs were feeling the pain of the weekend.  I initially missed the finish line and had to run back around to finish, probably adding 20-30 seconds to my time.

I watched as other Team Adventures members were finishing up, and we checked our results on the screen.  Upon inspection, I noticed I was listed in the age group of 30-39.  The reason, I came to find out, is that your racing age is the age you will be at the end of the calendar year.  Therefore I am already 30 in racing years.  Two minutes were added to my time because I started two minutes earlier than the 30 year olds.  It was still good enough for first in my (new) age group, 17/56 overall cat 2.  I was ok with these results, as it was a bit spur of the moment race decision and hadn’t been training as much recently.  And because I feel I am obligated to say it, Eric Gadlage beat me in the overall.  I have a whole list of valid excuses, but I’ll save them. Seriously though, huge props to him, he rode an awesome race.  We celebrated his great race with a few growlers from Basket Case Brewing.

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Podium!

Overall I would say it was a fairly successful weekend.  Did I live like a young 20 year old?  Ehhh, probably closer to my mid 20’s, but based off the results from this weekend, maybe my next goal should be to race like a 14 year old.

2017 Big Frog 65

Bentcrank's Blog

I had some time to write this after I returned home from the race, but I was trying to not get in too much of a hurry. I was really not sure what I wanted to write and I wanted to give myself some time to let everything sink in and what it really means to me. I’m still not clear on how or what I feel about this years race. I know, I know. I keep getting told this or that and that I’m too hard on myself. Who else can be my worst critic but me?

A fun group to ride with at any time. Spirits were still high for me at the pre-ride

We made it to the whitewater center fairly early Friday. Took care of getting checked in and dropping off our drop bags. Some of the group we were expecting showed up and next thing…

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DINO Eagle Creek 15K: Alex Potter

After almost two years of trying to heal my plantar fasciitis on and off again, I am finally starting to feel like I can run with little to no pain. Working with an amazing chiropractor Kyle True and massage therapist Leisa Parks, I have a solid daily routine of mobility drills and stretches that seem to be helping. It’s a slow process for sure, but I am up to running about 20 miles per week and feeling pretty strong. That being said, I felt it was time to jump in a race and see where my current fitness was at. I didn’t expect much after only a few months of 10-20 miles of running per week, but with all of the other drills and strengthening exercises and cycling I had been doing, it was time for a test. So with our 12-day old son Hugo, Giesla and I headed to Indianapolis to Eagle Creek for the DINO trail 15K.

Indianapolis had apparently received a lot more rain than we did as the course was extremely muddy.  When I registered for the race, the gentlemen that helped me said the start would be back in ‘the middle of the swamp.’  He pointed to a giant water hole in a field.  I knew my La Sportiva Helios weren’t the best choice of shoe for the day but oh well.  It was a test run nonetheless.

I warmed up a bit and stood at the start line.  There were some fast-looking people around, but I tried to focus on my race plan which was basically just run tempo-ish pace, don’t get caught up in running too fast, and see what happens.  I wanted to stick in the front or second group and challenge myself.  When the gun went off, I watched two guys take off through the mud and water at a pace much faster than I was ready for.  I stuck in the chase pack of about six guys and let my body settle into the difficult pace.  I had not done a single tempo run in a couple of years; so aside from a few fartlek runs, I didn’t really know how long my body would allow me to hang.  But with the past couple of years being strong cycling years, last year including a few hundred milers, I was hoping I had a decent aerobic base.

Less than two miles in, I was already getting uncomfortable with the chase group’s pace.  It felt just a tad too easy.  Not really knowing the 15K distance, I figured I would need to run pretty close to all out since it would take about an hour to finish – ‘all out’ for me is different than most athletes.  I don’t really train my high end much, if ever.  This is a bad thing.  So my aerobic pace and my ‘fast’ paces are pretty close together.  I want to change that this year, starting with this race.  So I increased my pace a bit, passed a few guys, and ran out front of the chase pack for a while.  After about a mile, I was alone in third.  I kept catching glances of the second place guy, a dude in a bandana and crop top, every once in a while.  I went through the finish area with a lap time of 19:27.  Oh sh*t, I thought.  My 5k PR is 19:30, so I either just cooked myself by running way too fast on that lap considering I have two more of them or the lap is short.  Again, I’m new to these shorter distances – my 5k PR is from a 10 mile run during a marathon buildup.  I really have no idea what I’m doing here.

Early on in the second lap, I slowly gained on the crop-top guy in second place.  I couldn’t see first place, so I focused on second.  He looked strong, but since he fell off pace with the first place guy and I caught him by running fairly even splits, I figured he went out a little hard.  I caught up to him and we spent the second lap weaving in and out of all of the 5k runners who started after us.  It was a slippery, muddy mess on the trails and getting worse with the hundreds of runners making laps now.  I noticed that, even as we weaved through the crowd, I would gain some distance on crop-top on the climbs (short and punchy) and he would gain on me on the downhills.  He was also skipping all of the downhill stair sections – so while I tip-toed down and through people on the stairs, he would blast down the side in the dirt and leaves which would put me a solid 50 feet behind him once I popped out of the stairs.  I didn’t know if that was legal or not, but I decided not to do it.  He did it at every one of those sections which was pretty annoying.  I would have to push fairly hard to catch up after each one.  Still, we went through lap 2 together in 19:46.  I was feeling strong and was confident I would be able to push hard through the final lap.

The final lap was the sloppiest.  After all of us 15K runners made a couple of laps and the 5k runners finished, the trail was in rough condition.  The lap area was all pockmarked and looked like a stampede of horses ran through.  I was slipping around all over the place, confirming my poor shoe choice, but crop-top and I kept a decent pace through miles 7 and 8.  On one of the last little climbs, he said “here’s where you got me last lap, go get it!”  But I didn’t want to cook myself on a hill with a mile to go.  I gained a few seconds on him and pushed my pace up just bit.  As we were coming in on the last half mile, my plan was to blast the last hill with everything I had left and then push it through the lap area to the finish.  I knew I would be slower going through all that mud and water, so I needed to gain a bit on him.  As we got to the last hill, I pushed it.  I gained on him just enough and held on through the finish chute in 59:28.  Crop-top came in at 59:32.

My body far exceeded my expectations.  I didn’t expect too much with such minimal running (and lingering ankle/foot issues).  But I was able to really push myself and come through the finish with a solid time.  I am continuing my daily strengthening exercises and being diligent about treating my foot and ankle with care.  I know a lot of my issues are due to poor mechanics and years of running with less-than-optimal form.  Kyle has helped me identify those issues and work on them.  I hope to be able to run more of these short distance races throughout the year.  After many years of long endurance events, these shorter, faster races feel new and challenging.

2nd place runner, 1st place sleeper

Let the Adventures begin.

The first race of the season.  It’s what I’d been waiting for all winter. However, as it sometimes happens, long awaited anticipation can build up too lofty of expectations.

The winter months saw a few new changes. I’ve joined Team Adventures (obvious if you are reading this), and I bought a new-to-me 29er hardtail. So getting out to race I was eager to put on the black and yellow kit (which looks awesome this year Nick) and excited to race the new bike. I had done a few races last year, and used it as a learning curve for mountain bike racing. Coming into this year I figured the few races I did last year, and especially coming off a nice race at Dino sww, I would hit the ground running this year.  Not so much.

I packed up all my things in the morning (Hitchhikers guide has it right; towel is a must) and hit the road. I arrived about 45 minutes till the start, which was plenty of time to register and get warmed up and try out the trail. After getting to the starting line and listening to the pre-race briefing I did a once over on my bike and noticed my seat pack was still on. Rookie mistake. I shook it off and got ready for the start. A mass start. Not a mass start of all ages of cat 2; a mass start of cat 1, cat 2 open, cat 2, women, etc. All the people racing at 10am started together.  It was civil chaos as we zipper merged into the singletrack after about a 150 yard sprint. Within the first half mile or so came the big seven dwarves climb. The climb was very technical with tight switchbacks. Being so close to the start led to a very cluttered jam. I struggled, partly due to one guy in front of me, and partly my own fault of lack of technical experience. I lost several positions from the climb, probably in the range of 8 guys moved around me. I hadn’t ridden the bike enough, and it having both bigger tires and being a size bigger than my other bike, I admittedly sucked.

The course plateaued and was similar to Ben hawes in how much twisting and turning you were constantly doing. It was hard to keep speed up because the trail was rough and had many log hops. I wrestled back a few positions, then got to another tough, switchback filled climb. Again I struggled. I’d like to say I can climb OK, but during this race any climbing was my Achilles heel.  I didn’t have to deal with traffic, but I was still dismounting regularly on the tight switchback turns.  After the climb it was time to point the bike downhill. No problems there and I felt pretty fast.

The second lap came around and it was the same story with the climbs, but the trail chatter had really started to take its toll on my body. My back was getting tight and I was getting some major arm pump (shout-out to ESI grips, they soaked up way more than the stock grips, I’m sure wrists would have been added to the pain list had I not had them on). I finished the race and kinda shrugged it off as the first race of the season.

I realized I’ve still got some learning to do. Looking back, had I pre-ridden the trail, I probably would have brought my spark 720 instead. The tight climbs and rough, winding trail would have been better suited for that bike I believe.  I’m going to try and ride Fort Duffield before the next race, as it has similar reviews to youngers creek. I also didn’t think about getting a picture taken. What a boring blog post without pictures! All in all,  a little humbling, but it made me even more hungry.

Youngers creek,  Kentucky point series. 9/23 cat 2. 2nd in age group