Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Midwest Fat Tire Series - Castlewood Challenge

Victory at last! :)

This weekend was the rain delayed National City Castlewood Challenge mountain bike race at Castlewood state park in Ballwin Mo. The conditions were great with the sun shining and fairly low humidity.

Before the race I didn't know what to expect as far as competition. At the starting line I didn't see any of the guys that had beaten me in the previous races, but the were a ton of riders, 20 in my class. I felt good since i knew the trails and I figured the laps would take about 30 minutes so i hoped to get in 4 laps. When we took off I was in second when we got to the hill climb and passed the first guy pretty quickly. Before I got up the first hill I caught up to some of the guys from the previous class and started my trend for the day; work to catch the guy in front of me. I guess that's the good thing about large races, there's always someone in sight. I passed a bunch of people on the first lap and finished it in 28:27. On the second lap it was more of the same, going from rider to rider. I definitely need to get better on my hill climbs, but I think I'm improving. The course was laid out where we had one long climb followed by lots of fast sections, another shorter climb then a creek crossing and flat track to the finish. This allowed plenty of recovery between hills and made for a fast race.

The time after my second lap was 57:44. When I finished the lap I traded my camelbak for a bottle and the camelbak was still half full. I rode the rest of the race with that bottle. Maybe I should have drank more but I just didn't think about it. The third lap was fun, I started jumping stuff and felt really good on the bike. I was getting some pretty good air on the ledge before the creek crossing and felt like I was flying on the flats. I finished the third lap just under the cutoff at 1:26:39. On my final lap I got behind an expert open rider and stayed with him most of the lap, I think his name was Chris (no, not THAT Chris). He has been racing for a couple years and was forced to move up from sport the previous year because he was doing well in a lot of races. On the last hill he was struggling so I passed him and made a sprint to the finish. My final time was 1:57:06. My splits were pretty consistent at 28:27, 29:17, 28:55 and 30:27. The best part was that I wasn't passed the entire race. I was the only rider in my class that did 4 laps which is also pretty cool.

Here's a link to the final results. I got a gold medal for my efforts (pictured) and now I'm really stoked about the Spanish Lake race next weekend.

I know Rock and Jeff will be there so I'll have to ride really well to stay on the podium, but I'm starting to think I'm capable of it. I'm going to do some hill work this week and then try to take advantage of the 2 week break after Spanish Lake to recover a little.

The DRJ Racing folks put on a top notch event. My thanks go to them for their effort. There were a couple of injuries during the race and the road crossings were a little tricky but with the huge turnout in riders, spectators and people visiting the park everything went very well.

Update: DRJ Racing took lots of photos of the race, here's a link to their set. Below are a couple of the pictures of me.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Mark, congrats on the win! that will move you up in the points for sure.

    See you Sunday!