May 14, 2013

Nathaniel at EFTA's Weeping Willow

I did my first mountain bike race of the year this past weekend at EFTA’s Weeping Willow in Ipswich, MA. This is a favorite of mine and of the local community with its fast, flowing trails and moderately technical bits. It is flat and fast.

Having just finished the semester and finals, I haven't had much time to ride my bike. I wasn’t sure where my fitness was, so I decided to do Expert (two laps) instead of Elite (three laps). I did the Elite race last year and three laps on the course was surprisingly difficult given that you never get a rest from pedaling.

The weather was overcast with some light rain during the race, although the roots never got slick. After a brief warm-up and seeing all my bike friends after several months at school, I lined up with about fifteen other 19-29 racers. 
(photo: Martin Allen Sr.)

I got on the front row and got a good start. I have a good snap off the line that often helps me get the hole-shot, but at this race, there is probably a solid half mile or more of fire-road at the start. About five people passed me before the single track, which wasn’t a huge deal, but I was surprised how quick everyone was riding.

(photo: Martin Allen Sr.)

On this fire-road stretch, in a paceline, the rear wheel of the bike in front of me flung up a huge stick that would have hit me smack-dab in the middle of my face, but I saw it and was able to avoid it. In the process, it ripped one of the twist ties off my number plate. The rest of the race was pretty standard; I caught some people and some people caught me.

(photo: Laura B. Kozlowski)

I rode smoothly and stayed focused, never having a crash or a close call. I paced myself well, although I probably should have been a little more aggressive when I got stuck behind some slower riders.

During the last twenty minutes, I was being chased down by some racers in other categories and even though I wasn’t racing against them directly, I still wanted to stay ahead of them. I finished fourth, less than a minute down from third and pretty solidly in the mix overall.

For how little I’ve been riding and how bad my diet has been, I was very satisfied with my result. Definitely room for improvement, and hopefully I can make my way back into the Elite class in a few weeks. The race, overall, was excellent and well run.

My Scale 900 performed perfectly and felt perfect the whole time. I’m looking forward to whatever happens to be next on the schedule!

 (photo: Nicholas Barry)
- Nathaniel

1 comment:

  1. The race course was an 11-mile lap of pure awesomeness, fast zero-recovery singletrack with a few punchy climbs and a hundred logs to jump over,trees for sale