Sunday, October 17, 2010

Georgia Cross #3 - Monteluce

Last year's course at Monteluce was very much a mountain bike course. Word on the street this year was that they reworked the course to make it more cross bike friendly and they took out the big run-up at the end... they added some pavement and really only relocated the big run-up to near the middle of the lap. The rest of the course was even sketichier than last year with lots of shorter downhill sections that ended in 90 degree turns in loose gravel. Before we arrived, I had feared that it would be a total roadie course (after some complaints last year), but was relieved to see that they had not one, but TWO run-ups.

I had both my cross bike and my S-works full suspension MTB. I had planned to bring my IF hardtail MTB instead, but Chris was not finished converting it back to a geared bike yet. Apparently he gave my shiters to SOMEBODY (who shall remain nameless, but will know who they are once they read this blog..) so we are scouring the house trying to find another set that Chris swears we have, but I'm pretty sure they are imaginary shifters.

I chose to ride the MTB because I knew that the uphills would hurt on either bike, so I wanted to at least have some fun on the descents to offset some of the pain and suffering elsewhere. I'd lose a bit of time on the paved and flat sections, but my morale would be much improved, and isn't racing 80% mental? Plus, now I don't have sore wrists from the full-on jackhammering I would have endured racing on 50 psi skinny tires.

I got a good start and jumped behind Kim F., who as usual, took off like a rocket. I was able to stay pretty close to her going up the first run-up, but once she hit some smoother grass, she started pulling away pretty quickly. I had a small gap behind me, but I hadn't hit the paved climb yet. I figured if I could hold off the cross bikes on the pavement, I had a good shot at 2nd. No one ever caught me as I pushed it pretty hard on the paved climb and then on the next grassy climb up to the start/finish. On the subsequent laps, Kim pulled further away from me and I pulled further away from those behind me.

The long run up was the most painful part of the lap. Even if you are a good runner, it is still uber-hard work to push your bike up a hill that has 4 inch deep gravel scattered all over it, especially with a heartrate already at 170. I managed to trot up the long run up each lap, but then couldn't remount my bike gracefully at the top becauase I forgot to lower my saddle and it was off camber. Argh! Right where Chris was standing least he didn't say anything about my poor technique. The second run-up was actually pretty easy because it was short and I could just power through it.

On my second to last lap, I could see the lead B guys closing in on me. Whoo hoo!! If they lap me I won't have to do another lap and run up that damn hill again. Of course, they didn't close the gap quick enough, and I have too much pride to slow down that much, so I just squeaked through the finish for one more lap. I wasn't super motivated on my final lap, as I knew all my chasers would not be going out for another lap. There were a handful of guys around, so that ensured that I didn't lolly-gag too much. Carrots to chase..carrots to chase.

So in the end I secured second place, my first cross bike race on a full suspension mountain bike. Hopefully the last one I will have to do on that bike too!

Next weekend is the Georgia State Trail Run Championships at Tribble Mill Park. I'm in good running shape right now, but there's no telling who may come out of the woodwork and make an appeaerance. I hope I don't get too schooled by any 15 year old girl cross country runners.

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