Location: Fair Hill, MD
Conditions: Fast, dry and cool
Riders: Cam, 1st (Pro/Open), Mike 3rd (Pro/Open), Jeff 6th (Pro/Open), Dylan 10th (Pro/Open), Nick 11th (Pro/Open), John 17th (Pro, Open)
This past weekend was a great one for mountain bike racing. Perfect weather and perfect conditions brought out over 750 registrants to the Bike Line XC at Fair Hill. Each category was stuffed with riders who all wanted to take on the fast, flowing and fun singletrack at Fair Hill.
|Tons of people at the race|
|Perfect conditions - warm and sunny|
The Pro/Open field had a massive 40 people line up at the start. We all talked just before the race and agreed that the race could be won or lost on the first entrance to the singletrack and so all put in a big effort to get to the front after the start. It worked, and we were all in the top 20 guys.
Nick got a great start and led us through the first lap (along with cyclocross fast guy, Dave Weaver from the Alan North America Team), with Cam and Dylan right on his heels. The race turned into a pack event, with 15 guys all finishing the first lap together. I dropped my chain close to the finish of the first lap and had to sprint really hard to get back on the group.
The second lap was just about as fast as the first lap and Dylan and Cam took over the pace making in the field. The speed was such that if you made any mistake, such as missing a turn or dropping your chain, you were out of the group and dropped. At the close of the second lap, that happened to Dylan and he fell off the pace. He said he was going at 60-70% effort in the pack and 100% effort while chasing, but still going slower than the field.
|Big pack after one lap|
|The chasing group|
I'd done a fast criterium on Saturday (28-30mph average with a bunch of laps off the front) and the lack of opportunities to take my hands off the bars and get a drink of nuun electrolyte drink during the Fair Hill race started to wear on me. I had to chase the pack down and felt some bad cramping coming on.
Just as we entered the singletrack for the start of the third lap, Cam put in a big effort and got a gap on the field. He rode away with a Twenty20 rider and Mike and I were left to watch. We weren't blocking - we just couldn't match his pace!
Cam eventually rode the fastest lap of the day on his last lap - almost 2 minutes faster than the prior two laps...
Mike rode strong through the last lap to finish third and I fought off a full right-leg quad lock-up to finish 6th, just 3 seconds off 4th place. Dylan and Nick rode together to finish 10th and 11th and John was in the money at 17th.
Amazingly, the time between first and 30th was very small. Just a little time gap meant a lot of places!
|Pro/Open Podium - Cam 1st, Mike 3rd|
|Dylan - 10th|
|Nick - 11th|
|John - 17th|
Jay had a different experience and rode away from his field (no pack racing there) and finished about 2 minutes up on second.
|Jay - 1st|