Sunday, March 4, 2012

XC Season begins: Killer 3!

The Southern Classic XC MTB season kicked off today in Sumter, SC.  This was my first time on the Killer 3 trail.  I gotta thank team mate Chase Dickens for recommending that I bring my Solis.  This was definitely a 29er hardtail trail.  The race was a long one, with the CAT 1's doing three ~14 mile laps.

My goal was to ride Tempo for this race so that I would be ready for some specific training for my goal events coming up in the near future.  I fell into the back of the pack for the start.  The trail started with some fresh cut trail that was pretty soft and still wet from the rain the night before.  This proved to be the only real sketchy part for my Vee Rubber V12 tires.  This was the same set-up I raced at Southern Cross last weekend.  As the race went on, I worked my way through the field a bit.  I was pushing it a little harder than I intended, but there were racers in front of me I just had to reel in...

By the end of the seemingly endless first lap I had ridden all the twisty corners, all the soft sandy parts, all the super hard pack parts, the 2 mile fire road and was handed a water bottle by team mate, Philicia Marion (Thanks!).  Lap 2 was a good lap.  With a bit more confidence in the grip level of my tires and knowing what was ahead on the trail I was able to get into a rhythm.  I chased down some of the pretty speedy guys and we worked together (more-or-less) for the rest of the lap. 

When we hit the start/finish/feeding zone (thanks for another bottle, Philicia!) I made an effort to get back into the single track first as that was where I struggled the most.  I got in 2nd of our group, but was waved by.  The new soft trail was a bit drier and packed down so I was able to go a bit faster than the previous 2 laps.  Before long I realized I had a gap and I picked up the pace a bit.  When they still didn't seem to be catching me I made it a point to get out of sight.  You know: "Out of sight out of mind."  Soloing along the 2 mile fire road for the final time was made even harder by increased headwind.  I put my head down to get more aerodynamic and read the verse on my handlebars: "In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall."  I managed to stay away and finish at 3:19 for a 5th place finish.

Next week, another wall to scale:  Angler's Ridge Southern Classic XC MTB race.

See you on the trails!

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