Monday, November 09, 2009

Iceman, Niceman

I'll hopefully have pics up soon
Whatever it is called, it is the best race all year. I have to say, even living in Colorado and doing almost 50 races already this year, the Triple Crown races are still the best races and best atmosphere. If all national caliber mountain bike races were like this, it would be on VS and people would be making money.

Did a pre-ride on Friday after flying in the night before and driving up to Kalkaska that morning. A spin down to Tornado Alley and back got my legs going after sitting for most of the last 24 hours.

Race day was so nice. Almost as good as Colorado weather this time of year. Sunny and warm. Rode out past Tornado Alley again for my warm-up chatting with Jason Anderson from Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers. Realized I was running short on time and had to book it back.

Race got underway and somehow managed to avoid the first wreck a few hundred yards in. Missed the second wreck where it narrowed on the dirt. Was 40 guys back going into the woods and the first few miles. Guys were everywhere and there was no passing until people started fading. Started to drill the pace and get around people to get back to the front. I could see the lead group just ahead of us, but I couldn't reel them in. Must be the fact that JHK, Matter, Shultz, Simonster and Anderson were up there. With that horsepower, I could keep them in sight for a while, but never get to them.

We ended up with a nice group for most of the race. Once we dropped most stragglers, it was a core 5-6 of us. I burned a lot of matches early on and was really glad when Wissink got on our group. He is a workhorse and did lots of pace setting in the last 15 miles. Him and Mike Phillips were keeping the pace high. Kuhn, Brewchamp, Stewy, and I made the rest if the group. Everyone seemed to be riding well and similar levels.

We were all together going into Timber Ridge, but the singletrack at the end created some gaps. I was on the back of what was then a 5 man train, and got gapped in the last singletrack section. It kept going on and by the time we hit the last woodchip hill, the group was splitting up. Was able to safely ride in for 18th on the day. Did the 28.8 miles in 1:38. It was crazy fast and really hard. Typical Iceman style!

It was a total change from training for nationals in Tahoe. No 20 min climbs and 10 min descents for recovery. Just pin yourself fro 28 miles and keep the leg speed high. My 19lb Superfly was perfect for the course. Maybe next year I'll train for it and see if I can get on the front group early on.

Overall a super fun weekend. Not just the race, but the entire atmosphere. Thanks to everyone who was screaming and ringing cowbells all over the course and at the finish. You just don't get that at any other race. It was also great to see everyone from the racing scene again and catch up. Can't wait for the next one!

Next up is cyclocross nationals in Bend, Oregon in a month. For right now, it is just time for some fun mountain bike rides and just enjoying being on two wheels.