Monday, May 21, 2012

Addison Oaks Stage Race Race Report

This past weekend was the next installment of the Tailwind Racing USAC series.  The first race was Pontiac Lake TT which I didn't participate in because I was out of town.  The Addison race consisted of 2 days of racing.  Day one was a 1 lap time trial on a modified course and a short track cyclocross style track.  Day two was a cross country race.  Going into the race most of us thought that it was a combined race, as it turned out, Saturday was really the only "stage" race of the weekend.  Sunday was counted separately.  I think they did this so they could draw more racers on Sunday that didn't want to race the whole weekend. 

Going into this race I didn't have high expectations.  My first Cat 1 race was at Yankee Springs but due to DNF I didn't finish it.  Also that was a TT race and not a cross country race so Addison was going to be my first Cat 1 cross country race on Sunday.  Saturday started off with a 1 lap TT on a modified course.  They had cut out some of the usual mountain bike course and ran us on parts of the horse trail.  Wasn't really a fan of them doing this.  I was concerned about flinging horse shit the whole time.  The ground was rather soft.  At one point they had pink arrow's setup and I thought I was supposed to make a left so I came to a stop to turn only look farther down that section and realize I was suppose to keep going straight so I lost a few seconds.  That really didn't do much for my time though.  Other than that it was pretty uneventful race.  I went out with another rider but I managed to drop him within the first mile or so and rode solo the rest of the way in.  I finished the TT in 29:24.

The next race up was the short track race.  This was done on the grass (which was very lumpy) and was about a 1 mile course.  It was supposed to be 20 minutes plus 2 laps.  I rode my CX bike for this mostly because I wanted to get racing experience on it.  In hindsight it was probably a bad decision, I probably could have gone faster on the mountain bike but whatever.  The biggest difference is the brakes.  They suck on a CX bike compared to a mountain bike so coming into corners I couldn't go as fast.  Power output was good around 300 watts for the 24 minutes. Knowing I had another race the following day I didn't want to push too hard.  I had also pushed really hard in the TT and I was feeling that.  I ended up 6th in the short track which put me 5th overall for the day.  Like I said, looking back I should have ridden my mountain bike but I didn't have a lot of expectations for this whole weekend being it was going to be my first real Cat1 race.  I found out later that night from my team mate John Osgood that I had won a medal for 5th place.  That was cool and it gave me confidence going into Sunday.

Sunday morning I woke up with some tight calf muscles.  Mostly like from pushing so hard in the short track race.  I iced them early enough in the day that it wouldn't affect me or cause injury so by the time I got back to Addison they were feeling better.  I was a bit nervous for this race.  I hadn't done a cross country race yet so I didn't know about pacing, how much water to bring, where to line up for the start, the fact that it was going to be 85 degrees, everything was new.  Well they did a call up from Saturday's results to the start line starting with 5th place so I was called first to the start line so I went straight down the middle.  The race started the leader took off and a pack of 4 of us stayed together for the whole first lap and much of the 2nd.  As we caught other groups of riders we couldn't all get through so I got caught behind many times.  I would then have to work really hard to bridge back up to the last riders in my group.  I eventually did but the first 2 riders in my group were starting to make a gap and I was riding with the third rider in my group.  Half way through the third lap I made a pass on the rider in front of me.  I felt pretty good at this point too.  I had conserved some energy so I was able to push pretty good and put in some time.  The problem now though, was that I was alone.  This is the hardest type of racing to do.  I was tired at this point as well so most of the last lap was spent alone.  I passed a couple more guys in the groups that went out ahead of us but that was pretty much it.  There were 2 guys from the 40-49 group that left behind us that caught me right at the end of the race but I just pulled over and let them pass.  I knew I was ahead of the 5th place enough that I didn't need fight and I figured they were in their own race fighting for the win so I just let them go.  I finished in 4th out of 11 30 seconds behind 2nd and 3rd and 3 minutes ahead of 5th. Overall I'm very pleased with the result.  I wasn't sure how I would do but it turned out great.  I got another medal and I got to do the rollercoaster hands for the group picture.  Next up is Hanson Hills 100.  This is going to be crazy.  My first mountain bike century.  I'll keep everyone posted after that.

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