Thursday, July 9, 2009
Long Pine Classic
This was my first race back into action since Big Bear a few weeks ago. I was feeling well rested, but was unsure of how fast I might be in a cross country style event. Regardless, I'd be racing at Michaux, the best place in the country to ride a bike if you drool over rock gardens, long climbs, and bone jarring descents like I do. The start of the race was about as relaxed as any other Michaux race despite being a part of the MASS series. We had a group rollout with a moto leading the way and chatter filled the air among the peleton. We continued at a casual pace for about a half of a mile until I got bored and picked up the pace and decidedly started the race for the day. The course turned left up a steep fireroad climb and I was passed by Ray, Martin, and another racer but kept on their wheels as we continued to climb. It hurt, but I felt like I could have gone a bit harder if needed. About halfway up the climb, the course entered the first section of singletrack. Just before going into the singletrack I snuck into 2nd place behind Martin. It wouldn't be much longer until we would put a gap on those behind us as we shredded the sweet singletrack that Michaux has to offer. I continued to ride with Martin throughout the first half of the course, then decided to make my move on an extended climb up Canada Hollow where I gained a 30 second lead. After descending some fireroads and wide trail I saw Jocelyn and my parents waiting for me. I accidentally threw a fresh bottle to the ground as Jocelyn handed me a fresh bottle which was meant to replace the empty in my back jersey pocket. Not realizing this right away, I continued on and felt like a dumbass moments later after noticing what I had done. Just seconds after entering the next climb I became aware of a slowly leaking rear tire and stopped to air it up. As I did Martin appeared out of nowhere. This led me to think that this would be a race to the finish. I hopped back on my Scalpel and continued with the steep climb, passing Martin on the way up. We were about 2/3 of the way through the race and I felt fine, so I decided to dig deep and leave everything I had out on the course. There was still a considerable amount of climbing left, which allowed for me to gain about a 2 minute lead. Getting closer to the finish, I knew it would be almost all downhill back to the venue, which gave me some comfort knowing that I had the race won short of a crash or a mechanical. Making my way onto the last section of trail, I climbed up a powerline and prepared for the final short decent to the finish when I was stopped by the timing crew who appeared to be spectators until I was right next to them. Looks like I'm back up to speed from Big Bear and on a winning streak. This makes 3 in a row since Tour de Tykes. Props to Zack and the Fast Forward Development Team for hosting their first MASS race. The course was amazing and well organized... and what other MASS race do you get to spray champagne on the podium?