June 27, 2010

West Hill Shop Race Report

The Sparknotes version: I raced my bike for 45 minutes, I got a flat, the CO2 didn't work and I DNF'ed. I'm good at making little things long, though, so below is the real edition.

So, anyone who reads this knows school had been intense the last two months. The spring of Junior year may be the worst part of all 12 years of public high school and I attempted to "get my priorities straight" by studying and not riding or racing my bike too much. I managed to get in four races, and four wins on 3-7 hours of riding a week. School ended recently and I decided the best way to celebrate was to ride my bike, putting in a 21 hour week of pedaling (pavement and dirt). I was beyond psyched to get out and race at Putney, VT. It is sponsored by the local West Hill Shop.

Local friend, Fred Howland got me up there.

When we pulled up, we saw the TWO time Olympian and totally rad Mary McConneloug and her husband, Mike Broderick. Pretty cool. They won...they dominated.

There were seven (hahaha, Seven) Cat.1 Juniors, some I knew, some I didn't. That was a record number, at least since maybe '06. So, the race started and a super quick 15 year-old almost got the holeshot, but I beat him to it. The first descent was very fun, downhill, smooth and berm-laden. I stayed in front for maybe five minutes, until said 15 year-old attacked and my friend, Ben, went with him. There was no way I could stick with them. They were on fire and I was certainly not. In fact, I was cold. I had cold chills, my head was throbbing and I had no power. I remained in 3rd for a bit, until my chain got properly bounced off my crank and the jockey wheels on my derailleur.This actually happened a few times and I think it was simply due to the fact that I was on a hardtail and the descents were super fast (and rough at speed). So, that allowed Zeb to get by. I rode a lap, had fun, but was withering in pain and wondering how I would survive another three laps. Well, fortunately, that pain was cut short on another fast downhill where a rock sliced my sidewall. I have never sliced a sidewall before, but I had a Stans setup, and I thought it would seal. I attempted to CO2 it, but the head wouldn't let it out. I decided to walk it out and cheer everyone else on. I later ran into Matt Green, who had also flatted, but got a spare wheel. He knew this DQ'ed him, but he was just riding around having fun. Ten minutes later, I ran into him again. He flatted again, attempting to ride his 18lbs Spooky hardtail like a downhill bike. He attempted to gap / tabletop 25 feet of trail on another fast descent. He came down on the front wheel (a 1150 gram MTB wheelset, mind you) and his tire exploded off the rim, causing him to die.

Not really, I lied. You can see in the picture above, he is alive and well. He had enough energy to lift his middle finger at me in protest of me taking his picture (it's a joke). So, he was in good spirits and told me about his "training week" that does not really include "training" rides, but rather trips to the BMX park and such. Must be all that rainbow colored unicorn blood.

Our local Adam Craig - Tom Sampson the 2nd best XC bike handler in the country (my subjective opinion)...he rides wheelies forever and gaps things, without making a sound or crashing. He can pedal, too.

So, I DNF'ed. Eh, I'm somewhat disappointed, somewhat okay with that. During the race, I felt like I was working hard, but going nowhere. There is good pain, and there is bad pain. That was bad pain. Anyways, I got to see some people I hadn't seen for awhile, and ride some pretty sweet singletrack. It's not all bad.

Last year, I filmed the race, along with Colt from Cyclingdirt. Our videos and pictures are here. The music on mine got messed up, so just turn it off.


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