Saturday, April 24, 2010

Massasoit Lung Opener

This was a tough week at work... my group is working on some new YTD reports and the pressure is on to get them right though we've never done them before. This was on my mindThursday night at 2 am and it kept me up until 5 or so. Normally not a big deal but every athlete knows that the most important night of sleep isn't the night before an event it's the one two nights before.

Yesterday things didn't get much better... but I did only work a half day - 12 hours. I got home and was giving strong consideration to skipping today's race altogether. But the wife encouraged me to go, recognizing that I needed an outlet after the strain of the workweek.

In the frenzy that was this week I forgot to renew my license which I wanted to do at work because I don't have a printer at home to print the permission to ride. Last night I drove to my folks to pick up the kids (they went with Gramma to the Pequot Indiam Museum) and asked to borrow her computer. No luck - they forgot to pay their bill and cable is out. They offered to loan the printer to me and I took it even though they couldn't find the "CD." For what? I asked "to install it" was the answer. Ha! Silly parents... you forget that we've got a Mac.. so it'll work.

After somehow failing to convince my father once again that the Apple product is superior we left and I decided to print the permission in the morning. Yeah - no power. I'm screwed! Just as my car pool buddy shows up the power is restored, I'm fully licensed and I've got the permission to race in hand. It'll be nice not having to scramble like this come cross season for a change.

So we get to the venue and reports roll in as follows:

"the course is fast."
"lots of roadies come here because it is so smooth."
"So-and-so just finished and averaged 10mpg... and he/she's not fast."

This was music to my ears. After a pathetic warm up I somehow missed the call ups and had to line up at the back of the sport 30-39 class... maybe 25 riders. My newly minted permission to race slip lists me as a Cat 3 on the mtn bike but this was a Cat 2 race. It was only my second mtn bike race ever so I figured I was in the right field and hoped that they didn't put me with the beginners. The 20-29s go off and two minutes later my field gets the whistle and we were racing. Leveraging (b-school talk) my cyclocross starting skills I moved up on the pavement starting straight and was 6th wheel into the woods. I was behind that tall MRC dude who rides that giant ANT cross bike. He's got a Seven mtn bike that is just as freakishly huge as the ANT.

Within 5 minutes I was in a group of 3 working on bringing back the leader that was 50 yards ahead, but one guy in our group kept screwing up... there wasn't a rock or root he didn't hit head on. We got to the first "climb" and the other 3 guys shift into the itty-bitty chain ring and spin up this hill at slower-than-walking pace. More like slower-than-walking-through-a-crowded-airplane-aise-during-food-service-pace. This is a race my friends! Come join me in the pain cave you silly spinners! Not sensing the desire to suffer in my fellow combatants, I found a line, attacked, put 10 seconds on them by the top of the hill and rode away.

That hill was 2 miles in and it was the last I saw of the 30-39 guys. Almost immediately I came up to the first of the 20-29 racers and worked through them gradually for the entire race. I put in a 36:14 second first lap (approx 7.5 miles) and continued to work through some of the 20-29 back markers into lap #2, though each one was a bit harder to pass as they were getting faster and faster as I got closer to the front of the field. I got past this strong bikebarn rider with 1/3 of a lap to go after chasing him for the middle half of the second lap. Passed him... want to guess?.... on a hill! And I can't climb!

I finished with a 36:45 second lap... much faster than I thought I would be and I had intentionally backed it down a bit. I had won the 30-39 race and had caught all but the top two of the 20-29 race.

I was hoping for a double podium because I need two new tires but I only got to pick from the prize table once. Nice brand new Bontrager 29.3 tire. My side walls are worn threadbare on that bike... so I may have to wait on upgrading until I win another one.

Thanks for reading

-Sandy Baggins


G-ride said...

oh super, now i need to deal with you in MTB racing too. Great. Thanks.

Nice job, BTW. Could have told you that would happen. You need to gage yourself of Mike Rowell. FYI.

matt said...

It was just my second mtb race eva, and I think that this course happened to just work for me... it was the least technical trail system I've ever ridden. Lots of wide open roadie-type hammering.

I'll either Cat up now (from 3 to 1 I guess) or race one more time in sport... on a more technical course to see how that goes.

Mike Rowell owns me in every discipline. He's winning the expert 40-49 class, I suppose I should move up.

mkr said...

Nice job Matt, way to kill it! Now upgrade you friggin' bagger :)

G-ride said...

listen to mike.

question 1: do you RIDE mountain bikes frequently? I have heard that you do, in fact.

question 2: do you race other disciplines, do group rides, ride at a fast pace, etc? Are you pretty good at it? Answer, yes, you do.

MTB racing is absolutely no different then MTB riding. It just costs more. So the not having done MTB races ever is a non starter. You ride harder than that on your MTB group rides with your fast friends.

You are a Cat 1. Hell, I am a Cat 2 and don't do terrible. I would do Cat 1 but dont think i can last the extra distance, frankly.

All that said, I will allow you the pass through penalty. You can race in Cat 2 next time so you can notch another win, hell its only fair and wins are hard to come by. I wont begrudge you that. Then get thee up to Cat 1 and have fun riding more miles for your money, and with your friends.


matt said...

I agree with everything you say except the frequency of mtn bike rides and the intensity of those rides. I don't go much because the guys that are available to ride aren't that fast. There are fast guys around here but we never seem to connect.

Anyway, during the race I couldn't help but think that the intensity of the cross experience is an unfair advantage I have over the rest of the field.

Anonymous said...

Whats next playing hockey with squirts or peewees?