Monday, May 01, 2006

Ripper Recap

Well for my first race in about 15 years I was pretty happy. Thankfully it was a fun race -- although it was pretty competitive up at the front.

James from Dizzy Cycles organised a fun filled tough event that catered to a bunch of different riding styles.

The start was a LeMans style where we ran for about 100m to our bikes -- the funny thing was that as we walked to the start line after placing our bikes, the volunteers shuffled the bikes. SO after the gun went and we all ran to where we thought our bike was, it wasn't. I spent about 30 seconds looking for my ride -- hilarious.

After that auspicious start the fun and games were not over yet. Instead of riding up to Seventh Secret we rode to almost the second switchback and then rode a trail called Bobsled back down to the start line. This was humorous in that the superfast cross country dudes were endo-ing right, left and centre. I saw one guy on a beautiful Ti cross country steed endo twice in front of me -- the second time I passed him.

The next fly in the ointment was instead of riding back up the fire road up to the first switchback we did Roadside Attraction, which was rooty, slippery and generally a PITA.

Finally back onto the fire road and up, up, up. At the 4th switchback again the route changed and we ended up doing a hike-a-bike up to the fifth switchback.

By this time the field had thinned that I could see only one guy in front of me and nobody behind me. I decided that it might be a good idea to try and catch the guy in front of me, so I changed gear and put the "hammer down." By the sixth switchback I had caught the guy. He was on a light weight full suspension bike, and look his name was on his shorts. He was sponsored! Here I was on my 33 lb "freeride" bike with Flat pedals and I was passing him. Hmm, I realised at that point that something strange was happening.

There were a couple of other guys that I kinda could see up a head, but there was no hope of me catching them so I just got into a rhythm. At the top I quickly lengthened my forks and forgot to lower my seat. Part way down Seventh I realised that things were getting pretty squirrelly with the seat up so I stopped and had to lower it a bit. Then I continued on and realised that one of the guys in front of me on the ascent had handed off to his team member that I was about to catch. I really didn't think I was going down that fast.

A few minutes later I was fatiguing pretty bad, I was all over the trail and the focus was gone. That's when I heard it "track". Damn, someone had caught up while I was in my daze. It was a young kid, who I had thought was miles ahead of me -- but no -- he had changed bikes at the top, from a light XC bike to a full downhill rig. Hey that's not right! Anyway I got out of my fog and kept him in my sights for a minute or so and then I saw him falter! "Track" and I blew past him, only to find myself in the middle of a bolder field and no control. Then he tried to pass, but just then there was a bit of an uphill and I went anaerobic up it. At the top I looked over my shoulder -- he was gone. There I was again-- no one in front and no one behind. A few twists and turns down Griffin and there it was the finish line!

Hey where is everyone? I thought there would have been a few riders hanging around to cheer the rest of us on! And then it dawned on me "did I top 10?"

How could that happen?
I mean I'm the guy that recently turned 40
I'm riding a "freeride" bike that weighs 33 lbs with flat pedals
I haven't raced in 15 years
The only real training I do is commuting to work and back
There were 60 riders in the Solo category

Where is everybody?

Well it looks as though all that time off has done me some good. I sailed to a 6th place finish (overall) in the Solo category. Full results here

Not bad.

But as my wife says -- "don;t you think you set the bar a bit too high in your first race?"
Yes honey I do.

Thanks again to James and his staff at Dizzy Cylces, all the volunteers that made the race possible, and of course to all the other competitors that made it fun.
Thanks also to for the map


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