Monday, August 10, 2009

Midwest Fat Tire Series - Spanish Lake Recap

Today was race #9 in the Midwest Fat Tire Series at Spanish Lake in north county near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. I spent the weekend in St. Louis so was able to pre-ride the course Saturday morning. I knew the laps were going to go by quickly because it took only 22 minutes to ride the course and I wasn't riding very hard at all. Most of the trails were wide, some of them on old jeep trails but there was one section of singletrack that I was worried about. It was very tight and twisty with lots of trees right next to the trail. I just didn't see how that part could be ridden at anything other than a snails pace.

A few of the other riders from Springfield came and stayed at the house in St. Louis Saturday night so they wouldn't have to get up so early and make the drive on race day. It was cool having them over and once the dogs settled down it was a good evening.

I made it to Spanish lake this morning prior to the beginner/marathon race and took my time getting registered and warming up. I really like it when I don't have to rush around trying to get ready to ride. All the usual suspects were there including Jeff, Rock, Zdenek (who I didn't realize was racing in the single speed class until after the race) and JP. I talked to Rock before the race and he sold his Santa Cruz Blur last week and was racing on a 10+ y/o hard-tail. He was hoping it would work out but I know I wouldn't want to go from my full suspension Stumpjumper back to a hard-tail. Going in I didn't have any idea how it would play out but I knew that the course played to my strengths without any steep hill climbs so I hoped I would do well.

When the race started I wasn't anywhere near the front of the pack. There weren't as many people as there was at Castlewood last week, but I think I was 6th or 7th after the sprint to the first section of single track. Rock and Jeff were in front and I was hoping they wouldn't get too far ahead where I wouldn't be able to make up the time. During the first lap on one of the turns on a grassy field I rolled my rear tire a little and it burped some air. Luckily it didn't go flat but it was feeling pretty squishy. My time for that lap was 18:19. When I rode past my girlfriend after the first lap I asked her to go get my pump. The second lap when pretty well, I was passing lots of people (including Jeff who didn't seem to try to stay with me) and feeling pretty good so rode right past the pump because I wasn't having any problems with the tire and didn't want to lose any ground I had gained. Plus I had Rock in my sights and didn't want to lose him. My time after the second lap was 36:25. Then on the third lap there was a really fast downhill section on a gravel road followed by a gradual uphill before turning into single track. On the downhill I jumped to my highest gear and built up as much speed as I could then when I started going uphill I just kept it in the same gear and stood up and tried to keep my momentum as much as possible. Rock had down shifted and I came up on him at a really good pace and passed him before the single track started. Then I just rode as hard as I could because I didn't want him hanging on my tail. The effort winded me quite a bit but it worked out because I was able to put some distance between us. I didn't realize it at the time but I had moved into first place.

Then on that lap in the tight singletrack I was worried about I was going too fast and on a turn I rolled over on my rear tire which changed my direction and I slammed my handlebars into a tree (which then caused me to slam my head into the tree). I didn't hurt myself but the impact twisted my rear brake lever and rear shifter where I couldn't reach the brake lever unless I stood up. That made the rest of the lap kind of hairy and when I got back around to the pump I put about 40 psi in the rear tire and was able to twist the brake lever back to it's regular position. Luckily I only had to stop for 40 seconds or so and Rock didn't catch me. The time after the third lap was 56:37. My fourth lap was great. After the breather at the pump I felt really good and rode really hard. On that lap I passed Zdenek and figured I was in first. The time after the fourth lap was 16:20. Then at the start of my fifth and final lap my toe caught a root and it flipped me. I hit my knee really hard on something and it immediately started swelling. I thought I had also broke a spoke because the entire lap I could hear a tick-tick-tick. It turned out to be the little spoke magnet for my computer, it somehow got twisted sideways. My knee was starting to get stiff but I just kept on pedaling and it didn't really hurt and I was able to finished the lap pretty strong.

My final time for the five laps was 1:36:16. My splits were 18:19, 18:06, 20:12, 19:43 and 19:56. Here's a link to the final results.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the win. I think the heat got to a lot of people and for some reason it didn't bother me very much. After the race I felt pretty good but I've got to stop crashing so much.

Next up is the Cape Race in Cape Girardeau, MO on 8/23. That's two weeks away so hopefully I'll be able to recover from the last 3 weeks of racing and ride rested and hungry. I hear it's a pretty flat course so here's hoping.....

EDIT: I forgot to post the gratuitous money shot of the medal.


1 comment:

  1. two in a row, nice work! Good luck with the recovery nd Cape race. You should try cyclocross, you'd love it.