Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stump Jump

Stump Jump at Croft State Park near Spartanburg, SC was to be a tune-up and final bike shake down before Cohutta.  That was plan A.  With rain the night before and rain predicted for race day I decided to invoke Plan B which was to race the FS 26" bike that had some more grippy tires on it.  I didn't want to take the tires off the bike I am going to race at Cohutta.

This was supposed to be another race to ride at tempo pace with some harder efforts thrown in.  That part of plan A lasted about 2 laps.

When the race started, 2 things became almost immediately apparent to me.  First:  Tempo pace wasn't going to keep me in touch with the field.  I did this race last year in the sport (XC-2) category and I knew they would hammer up the gravel climb at the start.  This year I was ready for it and got a good warm-up.  ...and hit the singletrack dead last.  Second:  There are more roots here than I remembered. 

Lap 1 was pretty uneventful.  I successfully stuck to my "race" plan by pacing behind a single speed rider.  When I couldn't hold back any longer, I picked up the pace a little and rode around him.  I concentrated on trying to be smooth and ultra-efficient without going over tempo power very much. 

Lap 2 I really enjoyed.  While I did see a few stumps, I didn't feel obliged to jump any of them.   The trail was pretty tacky now, making the sweeping corners and mostly flat trail very fast.  Which is fun, and I feel like I should be catching people because I am going so fast.  The problem is - so is everyone else.  My power to weight ratio is pretty good, but my power is pretty darn average.  Especially in taper-for-cohutta mode.

Lap 3 I finally catch some one.  ...and invoke plan C.  Which pretty much meant run full-kill speed until I was safely ahead of the rider I caught.  So 1/2 a lap later I roll through the finish line in 10th place.   ...of the 12 in my category.  I wasn't racing for results today, but I was a bit disappointed I was so far from the top.  I think maybe I am not cut out for cross country race distances.  The endurance races seem to suit me a bit better, but more on that after Saturday...

See you on the trails!

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