Monday, May 10, 2010

Greensfelder Challenge race recap

This weekend was the Greensfelder Challenge; the second race in the UFD West cross-country series.  It took place on the east side of Greensfelder County Park and consisted of 3 laps around an 8 mile course.  The race was set up as a fundraiser for GORC who builds and maintains mountain biking trails in the St. Louis area.

The weather was great for racing; low 60's and mostly sunny.  There was a huge turnout drawing riders from the eastern, central and southern part of the state; I registered for the 30-39 Cat 1 (expert) class and it was packed with lots of talented fast guys.  I had no real expectations going into the race, having never ridden the course and knowing who the competition was, but I wanted to ride well and I was once again reunited with my old nemesis Rock Wamsley.

When the race started, the 15 people in my class took off on a short section of pavement leading to the single track.  I was in the second row and was in about 10th place when we got to the trail.  It was not a very good start for me and after a long technical rocky decent the accordion effect started on the switchback climbs where you bunch up approaching a turn then sprint out of it.  I didn't really warm up prior to the race and I was feeling pretty crappy on the climbs.  I had Rock right behind me and I felt like I was holding him up so I told him to go on by.  I hated to do that but I didn't want to screw up his race.
(picture of me, Rock and Ira Brown)

It was a pretty tough course.  It had some really fast rocky descents, some nice flowy sections with pockmarked trails, good big ring flat doubletrack, a short rocky hike-a-bike section and some LONG doubletrack climbs.  There were not many places where you could let up and recover.

I passed a couple people on the climbs near the end of the first lap finishing it in 43:06.  Eventually I started getting my legs back and attacked the second lap pretty hard.  I was riding really well when on a switchback climb I encountered Ryan Pritle, Dan Miller and Rock stopped on the side of the trail while people on horses slowly rode by.  I only had to stop for a few seconds and when we got going I passed Rock going up the hill and while Ryan and Dan started to pull away I was able to keep them in my sights.  I finished the second lap in 44:11.

I spent most of the third and final lap chasing Dan and running from Rock.  Dan let me by at the top of one of the downhills near the end of the lap and I was able to catch and pass Cale McAninch on one of the last hills.  Dan was riding well but a mechanical problem was keeping him out of his big ring so he couldn't keep up on the flats leading to the finish line.  As I approached the end of the lap I saw Ryan Pritle and was somehow able to chase him down and pass him right before the end of the race.  I felt bad for making a pass that close to the end, but he saw me coming and that's racing.  The time on my third lap was 43:36 for an overall time of 2:10:54.  (here's a link to my Garmin data).  Somehow I managed to squeeze out a 6th place class and overall finish about 20 seconds behind Bob Arnold.  Here's a link to the results.

I think with a better start (and a pre-race warmup) I could have done better, but who's to say Bob or anyone else wouldn't have gone harder if I had been breathing down their necks.  Besides the "what if's" I'm pretty happy with the results considering the competition and I've got lot's of motivation to train harder and get better.

The payout went to the top 9 finishers and they all came from my class.  That's pretty cool.

GORC and DRJ Racing did a wonderful job with this race.  It was well run and the post-race food and beverages were top-notch.

Here are the photo galleries from this weekends race:Next up is a MWFTCS event;  Rhett's Run.

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