Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday - Georgia State Singlespeed Championships

After doing a quick pre-ride of the course on Saturday evening, I decided that I definitely didn't need harder gearing than the 32-17 I had on my bike. The course had some flats and good downhill sections, but the combination of the sand and turns made it so that spinning out wasn't a huge issue. There were a number climbs on the last 1/3 of the course, so I would have been happier, I think, running a 32-18 to keep my legs a bit fresher on the climbs, but it wasn't an option, so I just hoped my legs would remain strong at the ridiculous intensity I'd have to ride if I hoped to win. Most of the course was twisty, woodsy singletrack that I really enjoyed, but there was about mile of CX-style grass field (complete with an annoying sand pit and BMX track) that I just slogged through each lap.

Four women lined up at the start of the Open Women's race and we immediately voted to only do 3 laps instead of 4. None of us thought that an extra lap in the sultry, midday Macon heat was going to add to the experience. I checked out everyone else's gearing, which was a tooth or so easier than mine. I was worried I wouldn't be able to stay on top of my gear and that my challengers would pass me on the climbs. I had Ursula S. and Maria C. (last years winner) to contend with, so the race wasn't going to be easy.

From the start, I moved to the front, as I just hoped to get in the singletrack first and gap my chasers in the twisty stuff. My plan started off pretty good...

We had to ride through a CX-style chicane around some trees...still good...

Coming off the BMX track, both Maria and I missed the hard right turn and nearly crashed through the tape...not more than 10 seconds later, I managed to miss another turn, went crashing through some tape and did a slow motion endo less than 3 minutes into the race (yes, those new brakes work REALLY well). Sorry, no pics of that... It was actually kind of funny, as I heard Maria yell "C'mon girl, get up!" So off we go again, and I got back in front of Maria again right as we went into the singletrack. About a minute later, I picked up some huge stick in my front wheel, that I couldn't pull out while riding so I had to stop to pull it there goes Maria again. I fix my wheel and then start chasing, and get back on her wheel in about a minute. I rode behind her for awhile to kind of size her up, and realized that I was able to ride the corners a bit faster, so at the first opportunity, I passed her, hoping she'd have to work just a bit harder to keep up.

Coming back out into the evil grass field after lap one, I had maybe a 30 second gap. I tried to recover through the field, but at the same time, I didn't want Maria to catch me. One of the things that made this a tough race was that there were so many places that your chasers could see you, and figure out what the gaps were. I figured if she could still see me, she was still gunning for me.

My second lap was pretty good, only about a minute slower than my first, and I managed to put another minute on Maria. I had a somewhat comfortable lead, so just needed to not fall apart on the last lap.

The last lap was definitely tough for me, as I was having a hard time staying on top of my gear on the climbs. I wasn't drinking enough, as I chose to use bottles, but I didn't want to have to slow down to drink as often as I should. Thankfully I had enough of a gap that Maria could no longer see me. The last climbs of the lap hurt pretty bad, but once I came out into the final grass field section I felt a bit of reprieve...until I hit the sand pit and had to strain to get through it, which caused my calves to start "thinking" of cramping up. I looked over my shoulder, didn't see Maria, so I just spun the last 1/2 mile into the finish, trying to prevent any full on cramps that would force me off my bike.

I made it to the finish, and won the race, however I was completely dehydrated and destroyed. Not being used to XC racing anymore, it was really hard for me to push myself that hard. Add not drinking enough, and I was feeling pretty crappy afterwards. Somehow I summoned up the energy to stumble up on the podium...

Despite feeling like a train wreck afterwards, I was stoked to win an XC race, stoked that none of the guys who started behind me passed me, and stoked to get a super-cool State Champion jersey. Maria was thinking about racing in the age group race, wow, what a trooper. I, however just crawled back in my car, cranked up the AC and let Chris drive me back to my couch where I proceeded to crash all afternoon.


Carey Lowery said...

A job well done!

Namrita O'Dea said...

CONGRATS!! Sorry I missed it but there was no way I had any time or energy to race :(

That trail does get HOT.