Saturday, August 27, 2011
Rivers Edge Mountain Bike Marathon
Work commitments threw the training schedule into disarray lately. Usually I like being an adult, but sometimes it seems overrated...
I had to skip Fools Gold 100 mile MTB race last weekend, but I did get to race the final 2 Southern Classic races at Bur-Mil Park and Dark Mtn the last 2 Sundays. In order to keep the training volume up I did a long road ride after each of the races.
The Sizzler at Bur-Mil started out damp (and rooty) so I mounted up some tires I wanted to evaluate in case of rain for Pisgah next month. They worked well, but I got a lousy start and wasn't feeling super speedy. I ended up 7th.
Dark Mountain went much better. There wasn't much time to sprint before the single track and I got tangled up in the field. The climbing and descending suited me pretty well and I was able to chase back to 3rd. As an interesting aside, I got to see 2 spectactular endo's real close-up.
Today I was back on schedule to race Rivers Edge, a 50 mile race, as a warm-up to Shenandoah next month. The venue moved from USNWC to the Wood Run trails at Uwharrie. I had never raced at Uwharrie before. I heard it was kinda rocky and that people flat there pretty regular. This caused some concern when the rear tire I planned to race punctured during the Wednesday night race at USNWC. Undaunted, I mounted another one up for the race today (I got 'em on a promo deal).
The rocky report proved accurate, although the rockiest parts were similar to what Trans-Sylvania epic would bill as "sweet single track." The smaller loop was sweet single track and provided a chance to recover.
We started on a gravel climb. Being new to the trails I tried to fall into a speedy group, but not a crazy-fast group. I've been working on my starts, so I decided to push it a bit on a long double track climb. Every MTB'er knows that a long double track climb is followed by a single track descent. I passed most of the folks I had been riding with in order to get a jump on the singletrack. The Trans-Sylvania experience was paying dividends on the rocky descents: I was able to gain ground on most riders, or at least not give-up any.
It took me a couple of laps to get into a rhythm to accurately gauge my efforts but eventually I was able to figure out when the most strenuous climbs were approaching. I was able to ride them all, but the last couple of laps it was only with the use of my smallest 2 x 10 gear. The tires I chose held up well - a reasonable compromise of grip vs. fast rolling. They were perfect for 80% of the trail. The other 20% was a bit hairy at times causing a few tense moments. Fortunatlely there weren't any silly 60 foot drop-offs like at ORAMM or Cohutta.
So, after 5 laps around the ~10 mile course I managed to come in behind a duo team and Kenda racer Rick Pyle. I was pleased with that result as it gives me some momentum heading into Shenandoah. Another place I haven't seen before...
The post race food was awesome, I can't speak for the beer, but it seemed to be popular too. The threat of hurricane weather may have kept some folks from coming out, but that seemed to make for a more casual and easy-going environment.
See you on the trails!