Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The season starts..... CCCX #1 Race Report

CCCX #1 @ Ft Ord day camp, Monterey Ca.

 Pro/ Expert SS-- 2nd plc. 5 laps for 25 miles of single track and narrow fire road. 2hrs// 13mph avg

 The conditions for this race were epic. It was barley raining for the warm-up but once we got underway @ about 2pm, it was coming down light but steady. I got 2.5 laps of warm-up, doing the new backside 3x including a slimy, muddy climb I could barley walk up (that was tough!). With the muddy conditions in the races before hand, everything was running behind--we were supposed to be off by 1pm!

 I opted to stay out of the rain and hide under a tree next to the start line and stay warm instead of riding around in the water. This was a good choice as I had a fast start and warmed up quick. I had the lead for a bit (SS) and eased up on the first climb, letting the pro/semi-pro geared guys go and waiting to see who the next SS rider would be. Turned out to be some guy I didn't know but looked strong so we rode together for the next lap.

 The course was deteriorating fast with the rain getting heavier as the laps ticked down. I knew running the Kenda Small block 8 tires in these conditions was not ideal but it was all I had and indeed it turned into a skills clinic quick, fast and in a hurry! On lap 2, while following in second place, we entered 1 of 2 really technical sections and I lost my.. rear brake? I had put new pads in, the day prior, so it was likely a bubble in the hydraulic line. CRAP!

 I had to pump the brake 4-5 times to get any pressure going and doing so while in the super greasy muddy switch backs was frustrating and difficult to say the least. About 3 turns later, I had no brake into a turn, sliding sideways I ended up pointing off the trail and pumped the brake to no avail, so I had to grab the front to keep from slamming into a tree and en-doed into a bush..... OTB!

Not hurt-- I jumped up and checked my bike. Seemed OK but 3rd and 4th place went by and I wasn't sure how I was going to manage to navigate the course with hardly any rear brake. I stayed calm and realized that I could only push my advantage on the climbs and flats where braking wasn't an issue, which I did. Also staying slow but steady thu the sloppy turns helped keep control in the switchbacks, although I knew I was losing time--it was all I could do.


I managed to catch back up in about a lap, to 2nd and 3rd. About 1/2 lap later I caught 1st! I really couldn't believe I still had a chance at victory. I took the lead for about a lap with now 2 to go. Eric from SCCC was the only guy to stay with me. So we rode the last 1 1/2 laps together until the final time down the greasy switchbacks and he was outta sight. I kept the pace high where I could but was resigned to the fact I was going to get second.

 I road what I felt like was a fantastic race despite the conditions and mechanicals. I heard after the finish.. lots of riders dropped out or had mechanicals. I was totally covered in mud head to toe.

 It was an epic MTB race.. . no doubt!! Not a bad way to open up the 2009 season and a fantastic opener for Snelling RR next week. I hope we don't have rain for that race however.


Thanks for reading.


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