Washburn Wisconsin is where I claim to be from. This weekend was Homecoming which occurs every 5 years. Pretty much everyone from the past comes out of the woodwork and back to town. This year, the folks at the hardware store decided to put on a mountain bike race, to my surprise. I had brought my CX bike with me just in case my friends wanted to go for a ride on the local ski trails. When I got there on Thursday, my classmate was like "You're doing the mountain bike race, right?" And I'm like "What race?" And he's like "DUUUUUDE!!!!".
Yada yada yada, I got up at 8 after a pretty serious night on the town. I rolled down to West End park, registered, and warmed up. 45 of us rolled out on a gravel road, straight into a snowmobile trail. I made the selection of the top 5 in 5th place. We took a right and the snow machine trail turned up some kind of evil power line, right-of-way situation with a steady 4-5 minute climb. The front pack split with the top two (Aaron Swanson and Paul Belknap) pulling away. I settled into third. At the top of the climb, the trail flattened out for a bit then the course turned onto a gravel road. By that time, another guy (Noah Michaelsen) pedaled up to me. We worked together almost like teammates, trading pulls. Something went audibly wrong with his bike and we stopped to try to fix it. He was missing a brake caliper bolt, so no dice.
In the end, he did not contest for third place, which was bittersweet. I tried to give him the apple pie I won. That's right! Apple Pie! (The overall winner got 2 pies) We got to talking, and it turns out he's married to a girl I knew in high school.
Overall, it was a great race. They probably didn't need chip timing with only 45 people. The course resembled a mini-Chequamegon 40 which was cool. It will be great to come back next year.
Thanks to Steve H. for the photos. You are a BEAST!
I had my powertap on the bike. I'm going to post my power data in a little bit ...
I covered most of everything in my previous short posts. However I just have to say, hats off to the all of the 35-39 comp age group. We are pretty freakin' fast. Horner was flying. Rogowski methodically took me down in the twisty single track. I'm looking forward to Buck Hill and especially looking forward to the Border Battle where we will take down the sorry Badgers.
I had a fun incident free (mostly) race at Buck Hill last night. I had a great sprint to the finish with a guy from Grand Performance. He won by half a wheel because of his shaved legs. My single track skill needs work, but everything else felt good. I didn't do that well results-wise, but I started at the back of the pack which cost me a lot of positions. Apologies to the dude I cut off and crashed in front of. I sprinted in front of him to get into a single track section, then promptly slid out. I did well riding hard up hills and driving through straight flat sections.
Today, I Frankensteined my Powertap wheel back together with some XT mountain bike hub parts. So far so good. It has been out of commission since March. I would like to get some use out of the thing before the end of the year.
I got stung in the head by a yellowjacket while riding around Lake Calhoun. I couldn't get my helmet off before she got me. I hope the thing spends eternity burning in bee hell.
I hate making excuses, but my bike really didn't have it yesterday. Right off the gun, my newly cabled bike demonstrated a skipping chain. I half fixed it on the fly about 3/4 the way to the single track. I got in there in about 6th place. With some misfortune by the guys ahead of me, I moved up a couple spots on the whoopty-doos. From there, I kept pace with the leaders, including Matt H. and Rogowski. I eventually made it to the front of the pack, and built a gap. I think I had 30 seconds about 2/3 the way through the 1st lap. That's when my bike took a dump.
1st, the new cables decided to stretch or break loose from something and get out of sink by exactly half a shift. I got off the bike and fixed that, and it stayed good for the rest of the race. About 5 minutes later, still on the 1st lap, I made the mistake of shifting into the granny and I got an almost incurable case of chainsuck. I got off the bike and spent some time fixing that. When all was said and done, a ton of people whizzed by. By the second lap, my bike was back into racing shape.
I had a good time riding the single track on the front end of the course. The bontrager Mud Xs were absolutely great in the muddy, curvy, hilly singletrack. I could punch it at full throttle up the steepest of inclines, and tear through the greasy corners. The second time I got to the Stairway climb I decided to walk up it instead of my usual strategy of riding 'till I can't. I really regret not trying. Not that it would have made me finish any differently, but I am just disappointed I didn't give it everything on a hill. I had a solid ride through the quarry, both times. Some other riders were a little squirrelly due to the limited traction, but for me, it was just point and shoot, with no issues at all.
Overall, I think I had the most fun at this race than I have all year, and I didn't have a total disaster like every other time. Unfortunately, I think I blew it trying to "taper" for that race. Now I need to basically start over from scratch and get ready for the end of MTB season. Next race, I'm going to be sure I take my bike for a dry run a couple days before.