Sunday, July 12, 2009

OMBA Caramba Recap

The OMBA Caramba mountain bike race at the Sac River trails was today. I arrived at the park prior to the first race and was pleasantly surprised by the number of cars in the parking lots and lining the road.

The first race started at 11 and consisted of the Marathon and Beginner classes. I registered for the 30-39 Sport class so my race was scheduled to start at 12:30. I watched some of the first race and concentrated on warming up for mine. The weather wasn't bad; it was fairly warm and humid but there was plenty of cloud cover so it never really felt that hot to me. My plan for the race was to start with my 1 liter camelbak; drop it off after 2 laps and switch to a bottle. It turned out to be a pretty good plan.

When the race started they sent the various classes out in waves with about a minute between each start. I was in the 4th wave. I should have pushed it a lot harder at the start because I got stuck behind a couple riders that didn't want to be passed. Eventually I was able to get around them, then on some uphill switchbacks I wasn't paying attention and my front wheel washed out on a turn and I went down. I got back up pretty quickly and nobody passed me. The rest of the first lap was pretty difficult. The hills were a struggle and I was having trouble with other riders pretty much the whole way. On one downhill section I tried to pass someone on the outside on a turn and my front tire went over the bank and I went down pretty hard. My chain came off and it took me about a minute to get it back on. It felt like forever and 2 people passed me while I was messing with it. After I got back on the bike the rest of the first lap was pretty good and I finished it in about 39 minutes. The second lap was much better than the first; I was able to pass a few people and I felt better on the hills than I did in on the first lap. I did have one section where I took an uphill turn wrong, cutting it too short in too tall of a gear and had to run the bike up the hill. I was passed by 2 people and it took me a little while to pass them back. I finished the second lap in about 41 minutes. The third lap was my favorite. I dropped off the camelbak and even though it was almost empty, without it I felt a lot lighter on the bike. About halfway into the 3rd lap I got behind the lead 20-29 sport rider. I spent the rest of the lap on his tail. He would put some space between us on the downhills but I was able to catch back up on the uphills. It was pretty cool. Since we were in different classes I really didn't try to race him and I was trying to encourage him on the hills. I don't know if it really helped or not but he did seem to speed up a little when I said something.

On the final stretch of the last lap I pulled out into the grass, stood up and started hammering it. I passed the guy I had been following and for the first time of the day I felt pain. My quads just above my knees were cramping with each thrust. It was a strange feeling. My final time was 2 hours and 20 seconds so the last lap would have been about 41 minutes. I finished 3rd in my class with the winner about 5 minutes ahead of me and 2nd about 2 minutes ahead. I don't know exact times but hopefully they'll post up official results soon.

There was a professional photographer taking pictures that he said would be posted to Flickr, but here are a couple taken with my phone:

Starting line, I'm in there somewhere

Me, post-race; I think I'm waving off the paparazzi

I want to give a BIG THANKS to the event organizers; I had a blast and the volunteers did a great job. I'm going to try to do a few more races in this years Fat Tire Series; I've got my eyes on the Columbia race on the 26th, and the Castlewood races in August.

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