Sunday, August 27, 2006

Winsted Woods Race

Well, yesterday I took the singlespeed out for a little over an hour to test the new chain and saddle. My body and legs were tired but the bike worked flawlessly. Guess riding to work every day this week didn't leave my legs as fresh as I wanted them to be. So, I rode easy and just did a slow lap around the reservoir. This new saddle is nice. Should be much better than my last one after 100miles.

Afterwards I headed into Hartford to help with the Messenger AlleyCat race and then hung out with everyone for a while. Learned how to do skids and skip stops (another way of stopping fast without a front brake on a track bike). There are some details of the technique here: wikipedia and here at I was also practicing my trackstands but still can't do it no-handed like some of the Hartford Crew can.

Today I got up and slowly got my ass moving. The oatmeal and toast were slow going down but I managed to eat all of it. Then headed west on my road (rt44) to Winsted CT (just north of Torrington). Halfway there it started raining. Shit. I didn't bring any warmer clothes and rain gear. Luckily I had my thin rain coat in my car so I used that while getting ready for the race. Upon arrival it was pooring and I wasn't in the mood to ride let alone race. Picked up my number and then got my stuff together. Yeah. I was a racing my singlespeed in the geared class (Expert 19-29). I have a fair amount of points in this class for the overall series (holding 14th) and points in other classes (Expert SS for example) won't transfer. So, I brought my knife to the gunfight so to speak.

There were maybe 10 people in my group.?. I didn't count. I just wanted to get this over with. The start was on a paved parkinglot and I was sitting around 5th going into the singletrack. There I wound up dismounting (would be a common theme today) and running... running past everyone into 2nd or 3rd. I hung with the leaders for most of the first lap (4miles per lap and we had to do 4 muddy laps). Towards the end of the first lap I was so hung up on staying with the leaders that I was riding beyond my ability for the conditions. In otherwords, I fell quite a few times right before and shortly after the start/finish going into lap 2. The fall on lap 2 must have been #5 and I fell hard. Got squirly in the mud and the bike slid off trail. I then went sideways, landed on my side and slid for about 15ft into the bushes. Bye Bye leaders. Okay. Get up and start riding smart. That was tough for
I was frustrated with myself and wasn't mentally in the game.

The leader of the singlespeed class (they started 1min behind us) caught me shortly after I became aquianted with the side of the trail and I rode with him a bit. Then he pulled beyond me and I was left alone again. Sometime later the 2nd guy in the SS group caught up to me and I rode with him for the remainder of the 2nd lap. Towards the end of that lap my front tire slid out (another common theme) and I fell on a very muddy hillside. I then found myself sliding out of control backwards on my right shoulder and thigh down the slope for about 5feet. If I wasn't completely covered in mud, now I was. I couldn't even see my tattoos there was that much mud on my arm. Back on the bike and onward to the start/finish to begin lap 3.

Lap 3 was slow going for I had no one to pace (the 2nd SSr pulled away from me). I knew I wouldn't catch the leaders in my group and figured I had a good gap on the guy behind me so I then rode my own race and paid very close attention to balance and agility for the mud was getting worse. On the downhills my eyes filled up with mud and I couldn't see. On the uphills I rode most of them and then ran the rest. I ran quite a bit for my gearing was steep for the conditions (32x16.. should have ran a 32x18 and some mud tires rather than semi-slicks).

Lap 4 I was still alone and my calves were tiring. That made running difficult. I took my first energy gel and then drank more from my camelbag. Once I got to the halfway part of the lap I knew things were going good for I still had strength and no one passed me. Near the end the first pro passed me on his way to finish lap 4 and start his final lap (#5).

I crossed the finish line in around 2hours and 14minutes without any muscle cramps. The leader in my group finished about a minute over 2hours. I was in 5th place! That's exciting considering what I was riding. Then I waited in line for what seemed like forever to wash the mud off my bike and 'self. When that was done I was freezing and went back to the car to change and clean up some more. Shortly thereafter I left to go home with the heat blasting. It was in the mid to upper 50s and pooring rain.

It is now a couple of hours later now and I'm feeling pretty good. Legs feel pretty good but my body is tired. A good night's sleep is defintely in works. Guess the 2 weeks of 15hours/day at work haven't really messed up my form. Granted I could be better but I'm happy with how things are right now. A good precursor to next weekend's Shenandoah Mountain 100 down in Virginia. Oh yeah, the poison ivy is just about gone. I wonder how long it'll be until I find more?

Until then...


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