Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Time to Sack Up, Part 2

This week I've been working on polishing my form and getting ready for the Wilmington 100 on Sunday.  At one point I was shooting to qualify for Leadville on Sunday, but after a rough fall and winter I decided to scale back on that plan and just do the race for experience.

Of course polishing said form isn't quite going to plan, either.  During the warmup for last night's Catamount race I wondered how my back and hip would hold up, and as I warmed up a bit I tried to not let it consume my thoughts.

Remarkably I was able to get a good start and went into the woods following some good wheels and riding smoothly.  It was almost hard to believe, but I was holding my pace around corners and through the obstacles.  I was holding my own.  Whoa.

Halfway through lap 1 Grass Moots teammate George politely rolled by at which point I was wondering how the hell I'd managed to stay ahead of him for that long.  As lap 1 wound to a close Marc and Ross passed me and encouraged my effort.  I'm a familiar face at these races, just not with that group and not at that point in the race.

From there my pace slipped a little, but I was able to yo-yo with a consistent group of riders, and all-in I was riding the flat, technical course really, really well- way better than two weeks ago.

I ended up finishing five minutes behind my target, but within a very manageable three minutes there were quite a few riders that I'll be focusing on in the coming weeks.  The biggest change was really the focus on reading the trail.  That's not something I think I do as aggressively as I should, and really maintaining that focus for the full distance takes some discipline.  

My performance on a flat, twisty, bumpy and technical course is not predictive of how I'll do on Sunday's steep, long dirt road suffer fest, but I'm encouraged nonetheless.

I'll leave you with this picture of 2011 Leadville Winner Todd Wells' bike as he raced it on the day (jacked from Singletrack.com- how come nobody scalped that url before?)   

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