Shootout on Angler's Ridge
Virginia State Championship
Jeff: 6th Pro
Dylan: 9th Pro
Last weekend (March 11) Dylan and I drove the 4 hours down to Danville from the DC area early Sunday morning to race the Shootout at Angler's Ridge. While the registration process was a difficult one (USA Cycling's registration is difficult to use and not using www.bikereg.com, which is the default registration process for the Mid-Atlantic area, probably led to lower turnout overall), the open/pro field was fairly large and also included a number of Cat 1 riders. Fast guys Jeremiah Bishop (showing up just after picking up second in the US Pro XCT event), Rob Marion, Connor Bell (top 10 result in a UCI World Cup junior event last year), Keck Baker and others came out for great weather and a dry course.
|Loading up the car at 5am (it felt like 4am due to the time change)|
The organizers ran the course in the opposition direction from years past, which had the unfortunate effect of eliminating a prologue which could shake out the field before hitting the first singletrack. We were left with a narrow chute and only a small stretch of pavement before hitting singletrack with limited or no passing opportunities for the first mile or so.
|Prior to the start (new Conti X-King tires on my bike)|
After working my way around lots of other riders, I eventually got up to Dylan's wheel. We were both suffering a bit in the hot weather (relatively hot - we've been training in 30 degree temperatures, and it was over 70 at the race start). I kept going on a course that suited my riding style (short, punchy climbs) and passed eventual second place finisher, Rob Marion. After some more work, I could see the lead group of 5
Just as I was going to make contact with the leaders, I caught my handlebar on a tree. Dropped me on the ground, a bit stunned, and my bike ended up off the trail in a ravine. By the time I got back up and riding, Marion had passed me and the leaders were 25 seconds up the trail. I never got that 25 seconds back and was left to ride basically on my own for the next hour and forty-five minutes...
We did 4 laps of the course and I caught one of the lead group in the third lap and was catching another at the end of the third lap, when the heat really started to get to me; that and hitting another tree. Ouch.
Eventually, I ended up 6th, 1 minute down on 5th. Dylan passed a bunch of riders in the last lap to finish 9th. Results are available here. That was a hard day for my first mtb race of the year.
Here's my ride data: