Monday, June 27, 2011

Hot and Dusty....and not in the sexy way.

Yesterday was the Three Legged Dawg XC event at Burns Park, right over in NLR. This is the only race I actually get to sleep in my own bed and sleep late. Nice.

3LD is known for being one of the hottest, roughest races in Arkansas, and this year was no exception. The Cat 1 field didn't actually get launched until around 11a.m, and I remember standing at the staging area, b.s.'ing with a few other racers and thinking " wow, its really hot, and I'm not even working yet".

I had no desire to lead this race from the get-go. Its a long XC race, dehydration always happens in 100 degree weather, and the third lap always ends up being a woozy-headed suffer-fest. I was going to avoid that this year.

As soon as we dove into the single-track, I knew that being 4th or 5th in line was a bad idea. I am still blowing dust boogers, and I think I have a rare case of brown-lung. The new trails were incredibly dusty with lots of rocks strewn about for good measure.

A few guys were really pounding away at the beginning of the race, and I didn't want anything to do with it, but I was kinda stuck in the middle of the pack. I raced on faith today(no computer), so I don't know any details:HR, speed, distance, that type stuff. Roughly 6-8 miles in, I lost my front tire on a loose section, and slid out.Nothing bad. Zane Jeffers with Bell & Co. proceeded to pass me at this point. (Congrats on an awesome race) This didn't help my mojo much, but it did allow me to start racing at my own pace for the day.

I rode by myself pretty much all day. I rode conservatively and well paced. I was in third place, and I was hoping to catch the guys in front on the third lap. Somewhere near the end of the second lap, I caught the guy that beat me at Hobb's 2 week's ago when I had a gnarly crash. Nice, the plan is working. Now to just keep plugging along and make up ground on Zane. The heat was starting to take a toll on me, and I decided to just keep pacing. I still had a long day in the saddle coming up Monday.

Well, my plan never came to fruition. I rode well, and I'm happy with my performance at the race, but I never quite caught back up to Zane. About a mile from the end of the course, another racer started closing in on me. The last mile or so of the course is the roughest of the rough areas at Burns, and I was getting bounced and bobbled around on my hard-tail quite badly by this point in the day. He started getting closer, able to pedal through the rocky sections on a full-sus 29'er, but once it smoothed out, I floored it all the way to the finish and held on to second place.

Time for BBQ and Beers.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the socks..... my legs were a bit sore from a hard week of training, so I donned some Swiftwick 12" compression socks and rocked out. They really help keep your calves from shaking and getting sore when you have to stand on descents and techy areas.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hobb's XC Race Report


Not in the way that races are supposed to hurt either. This one really, really, hurt.

That night was an interesting one. Sarah and I tried a double hammock for the first time. Hmmm. Not sure how that is supposed to work. We would have gotten a better go at it, but it started to drizzle and the three of us that rode up together all huddled back in my Passat wagon for a good nights......sleep?

Woke up ready to ride some awesome trails that I hadn't seen in a roughly a year.

The race started off in the usual  Arkansas Cat 1 fashion. Kinda fast tempo start, hit the single-track, and the group is immediately split apart. I was riding with a fast dude racing for BMC-Walmart for a little while. He was working the hills a bit harder than I was, but I was making the ground back up on some faster sections of trail. It was a pretty non-exciting race with me just yo-yo'ing any where from 10 feet to 10 seconds behind him. I was just waiting for him to peter out a little bit so I could pass him. I figured it was going to be around the 1h30min - 1h45min point. He was wearing a speed-suit, so I figured he was a short distance racer.

Then the race got realllly interesting. I was on lap two descending a long fast section of single-track at roughly 20mph when I accidentally caught my left Ergon bar-end on a small tree. Before I even knew what happened, I was lying on my back, bike on top of me, unable to move, and oh yeah, screaming. I laid on the ground for around 2-3 minutes before even starting to drag myself off the race course. I got to my knees, waited a couple minutes, and then started to stand. Wow, that hurts! Front-flip to back with rocks and roots for a landing zone. I chat with the ever-friendly Bob Ocken of Ocken Photography for a short bit and then get back on my bike to finish the race.

Once on my bike, the pain really wasn't so bad. I mean, it hurt really bad, but it was bearable. Pushing hard with the right leg however, not bearable. I rode conservatively, but still in a hurry. I thought that I had been passed by Drew Medlock of Competitive Cyclist, so I was trying to chase him back down and at least have a shot at 2nd place. When the race was over, it turns out that I did get 2nd place! Yay, now I can put that money towards replacing the helmet that I broke in the crash.

At least the Hobb's course was a great trail, and the atmosphere was great. I'll be back next year sans bar-ends for sure.

That is a baseball sized hematoma folks.