Monday, May 08, 2006

Coolest Mtb Race Report

Cool, CA
May 6th
8-hour solo entry
3rd place

The promoter made a big deal about my bicycle since it was the only
cross bike entered of it's kind. Most bicycles had 26-inch wheels,
front and rear suspension, at least 1.25 and as much as probably 1.75-
inch fat tires and straight bars with index shifting and frequently
disc brakes. The modern mountain bicycle is much like a motorcycle.
They also had a granny gear; even the single speeds were running a
30x26.

My bicycle wheel had no suspension, a road bike setup with the seat higher than the bars. I had flared drop bars and 700c wheels. My easiest gear was a 39x32.

The race began le mans style with a ¼ mile run to our bikes. We made a 90-degree left turn on the cement and another turn on the dirt and the fun began with single track that wasn't too bumpy. This continued through two climbs that were easily rideable and where I gained time. Then we descended and the final part of the descent, the best line was this really narrow outcropping of dirt that if you thought about it too much, there'd be no way you'd ride on it. But that's now how you do a mountain bike race; it's just let the bike take the best line. So we descend and at the bottom it's a sharp right onto a bridge (over a steep water crossing) and up a rocky, technical climb that most people walked their bikes up. The only ones who could ride were those with full suspension and a granny gear.

After this part there were crazy long descents that were totally
bumpy, rutted, rocky, with rocks that had drop-offs of up to half a
foot. I did an amazing job of riding down all of it, pedaling, and
staying upright! There were descents with large pools of water that
were deeper than the bottom bracket. I just rode straight through
them and got wet but kept pedaling.

My first lap was about 1 hour 20 minutes mostly because I made some
wrong turns and was generally unfamiliar with the course and my
abilities.

Second lap was 1:06 and the third and fourth laps were about 1:10.
After the fourth lap though, I was done. That was 4 hours 39 minutes
of just riding the course. It was 40 miles of riding total. I had
blisters on my hands, had a sore throat, and was feeling really beat
up and achy all over. Part of this may have been due to dehydration.

Despite kind of poor planning to order to ride the full 8-hours, I
was very happy with my ride. I think I did quite well with my
bicycle!

The venue was great, the promoter was totally nice, the sun was hot
but there was a cool breeze. The course was totally challenging
always throwing something at you! That's why I could only take 4 ½
hours of it; but that's still pretty good, I think!

Thanks for reading!
Troy

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