May 03, 2013

Bike Line Spring XC @ Fair Hill - Race Report - 2013

Location: Fair Hill Recreation Area, Maryland
Date: April 28, 2013
Conditions: Dry, fast, sunny, pollen-heavy air
Riders: Cam (1st Pro/Open), Jeff (3rd Pro/Open), Dylan (4th Pro/Open), Nick (7th Pro/Open), Zack (10th Pro/Open), Mike (19th Pro/Open), Ross (26th Pro/Open), John (31st Pro/Open), Jay (2nd 50+ Cat 1)

7 Scott Sparks in the top 10 of the Pro/Open field!

It was an early morning for us Virginia based racers to make it north to Elkton, MD to race at the Bike Line's Fair Hill XC race, but well worth the trip.  The course is super fast, twisty and with limited elevation changes.  It's almost like racing a crit on the road.

Any mistakes (bobbled turn, a fall) would drop you off the wheel in front of you and it was extremely difficult to fight your way back to the pack.

The 2012 Pro/Open race turned into a 10+ person drafting event, with separations occurring only when someone didn't take a corner properly (well, at least until Cam went to the front on the last lap and rode everyone off his wheel).  This year's race was expected to be no different, and possibly even more of a fast event as the course was bone dry and even faster than in 2012.

A huge turnout for the race, as always
 We started out after a 15 minute hold at the start (I'm glad we got there early - the 40 person Pro/Open field was bigger than most races) and Cole Oberman (riding a 2013 Scott Spark 900 RC) got the hole shot, closely followed by me, Dylan, Cam, Nick and Zack.  It was very cool to see of the first 10 riders into the singletrack, that six of them were riding a Scott Spark!

Cole's blistering pace at the front whittled down the lead pack to just Cam, Dylan and me until a hard crash took Dylan out of the lead group.  At the end of the first lap, it was down to just three riders in the lead, with Dylan dangling off the lead group by 25 seconds and the next closest riders almost a minute back.

Lead group at the end of lap 1
Lead group at the end of lap 1
Dylan chasing just off the lead pack
Nick in a good spot heading into the open fields
Zack chipping away at the lead
On lap two, it was more of the same in the lead group, but Cam took the lead through the singletrack.  I was cornering like an idiot and had to make up tons of time in the straightaways.  I realized after the race that I'd put too much air in my normally extremely grippy Continental X-King Protection tires!

John hanging tough through a knee injury
Ross taking on more fluid on a warm day before heading out for another lap
Heading into the third and final lap, I expected an attack from Cole, as he was caught between two Scott team riders.  It came just after the water crossing and before the entrance to the singletrack.  Thankfully for me, he took a bad line and got caught on the wrong side of a deep rut and I was able to head into the singletrack first, followed by Cole and Cam.

Cam leading heading into the final lap

Mike picking off riders
I gave it all I was worth in the first few sections of singletrack, but I just couldn't keep up a steady strong pace and let Cam by (closely followed by Cole).  I hung on their wheels for a bit more before finally getting gapped off about 2 miles before the finish.

Cam put in the fastest lap of the day on the last lap (by more than 30 seconds over his first lap time) to take the win, with Cole 10 seconds back.  I trickled into the finish 1.5 minutes later.

Dylan, in the meanwhile, had latched onto a group with Nick in the second lap and they were able to ride together and handle the open field sections in a group.  On the last lap, he attacked, putting 15 seconds into fifth place.  Nick lost a close sprint for 7th.

Zack, fighting off a lung infection, handled the course well, finishing in 10th, after battling it out all day with several other riders.  Mike had his traditionally slower start, gaining speed through the day, to come from the back of the field to 19th.  Ross was close behind in 26th.

I was surprised to see John a the race as he's been dealing with a  painful knee injury.  He handled the pain well and came in 31st.

Pro/Open Podium - Cam 1st, Jeff 3rd

Pro/Open Lap times
Jay had a similar ride as the guys in the Pro/Open field and got away with another rider in the first lap; they put a 20 second lead on a chasing group after one lap and stuck together in the second lap.  The last lap, the other rider attacked and rode in for the win with Jay finishing 30 seconds back.

Cat 1 50+ Podium - Jay 2nd

Cat 1 50+ Lap Times
Full results are available here.

Thank you to all our team sponsors who made this race a big success for all of the team!

  • Scott Bicycles - Scott Scale 900s and Spark 900s
  • Optic Nerve - Sunglasses -- Colorado to the Core
  • Limar Helmets - The lightest and most comfortable helmets in the world
  • Fizik Saddles - Comfortable and light and fit to your body flexibility type
  • ESI Grips - Hands down the most comfortable grips int he world
  • Zevlin - Makers of fine chamois cream, body care products for cyclists and handlebar tape
  • Continental Tire - We're riding X-King 29x2.2 Protection tires and loving their flat-proof nature and awesome grip and wear
  • Yokozuna - Ultrapremium shift cables
  • LifeproofiPhone, iPad and iPod cases that are waterproof, shock proof, dust proof and snow proof, plus the accessories to take your device to the extreme.
  • Stan's NoTubes - Tubeless wheels and systems
  • Stuffitts - Portable drying solutions to keep your cycling gear dry and smelling good
  • Dumonde Tech - Eco Friendly and High Performance lubricants
  • The Parts Shoppe - Ceramic bottom brackets, pulleys, bearings and ultra low friction grease
  • Medilast - Compression gear for athletes
  • VeloInk - Custom graphics for your bike
  • Polar Bottle - Keeping your liquids hot or cold
  • Strava - Tracking rides and competing against friends
  • The Sufferfest - Training videos to kick our asses today so we can beat yours tomorrow!

Here is the ride data from Strava:

See you out on the trails!

- Jeff

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