Category: 35-44 Beginner
Three laps of a 5.5 mile course. Many shallow hills. Never considered using the granny gear. The cyclocross bike perhaps could be optimal for this course. This is the fastest average speed I have ever done a mountain bike race and is faster than I do most cyclocross races. I think I am not allergic to poison oak as this course is notorious for that and I went off course multiple times and have no rashes to speak of yet.
Teammates: Mike Schaller in Sport
Friendly rivals: Curt Ferguson
The heart rate receiver in the PowerTap CPU is broken so no heart rate data.
Used semi-slicks in the rear and a cut down directional knobby in the front, 40psi each.
Total TSS warmup/cooldown/race:138
D: 16.9 miles
S: 14.7 mph
First time to wear a skinsuit. These things make it awkward to go to the bathroom and the long sleeve arms are not quite as comfy as a good armwarmer. Plus with armwarmers I can always use multiple layers - may have to put a thin one on prior to the skinsuit if it's really cold, today I felt OK once we started racing but too cold at the start and after the race. Also for a race of this length, probably should consider going without any water or tools and just DNF if there is a mechanical as I took only a couple sips of water, mainly to wash out the mud.
Curt gave me a very helpful guided tour of the first mile of the course. We started uphill on pavement for about 3/4 of a mile then went offroad. Most of the hills are pretty short and take less than five minutes so my goal was to go up all of the hills at close to V02Max power and see what happened, I also wanted to do the track sprint tournament in the afternoon so I wanted to avoid going above that too much to save something for that later event. Curt took off like a rocket at the gun which is impressive considering he is the largest rider in the field. A group of seven of us worked hard to hold his wheel, separating us from the rest of the 18-34/35-44 beginners, after looking back and seeing a huge gap I noticed our speed was about 20mph going uphill. At one point on the hill I was having trouble keeping up and not going over VO2Max and still there was no one close behind me so I eased up a bit to go at my own pace. Since I have not ridden my mountain bike that fast since the one race I did last year, I was tentative in some of the turns and managed to biff almost every technical turn by braking too much, and had to accelerate hard out of them to keep up with the riders I was catching on the uphills. After a full lap, I finally caught back up to Curt and the riders that were with him. I tried to encourage him to go as hard as he had gone on the first lap but he was not up to it so I had to push hard to keep the pace up since a few people were on my tail and lost Curt on a short climb. A couple of riders stuck with me so we constantly traded position until it was just me and one other rider ( and the four others off the front). I attacked once on the second long paved climb since he had difficulty there the first lap but he came back to me on the following descent. He let me lead until the last hard short climb about a mile from the finish. He pushed it really hard and keeping up was forcing me into L6 so I eased up a bit. He stayed 20 meters ahead until the finishing stretch - this was a bit technical and downhill so it was hard to make up any ground here and I got within a couple of bike lengths by the end but that was it.