Friday night was Pete’s pre-birthday party and I stayed up pretty late. Dancing at the Shallowscene and riding my skateboard as she drug a birthday pinata pony around on her bicycle. I woke up Saturday with a horrible headache. Ouch.
Backing up a little bit, Mark Blackwelder and I raced the Alpenrose track last Thursday. We took 2nd and 3rd. Our tactics were lacking and due to a little confusion during the 2nd omnium event and a mediocre final sprint in the points race I gave the win to Taylor Kneuven. Who, by the way, did a good ride last Sunday at the Larch mountian hillclimb.
Feeling horrible this Saturday (remember the night spent dancing?) left me getting little sleep Saturday night and getting up way too early on Sunday morning to clean up my XC bike and drive out to the Skibowl Super Sunday Short Track and Cross country mountain bike race.
Steven Hunter and Cary Miller picked me up in Steven’s amazing little VW. Packed full of spare wheels and spandex we drove up to Mt. Hood. Skibowl racing is hard. I really like it but, it is really hard. There was a Downhill mountain bike race happening at the same time as the XC race so there were hordes of body armor clad downhill warriors milling about, talking about crashing, broken bones and bikes. The mountain was pretty cold so we put on the layers and headed off to warm up and find the short track course.
Luciano Bailey and Kris Schamp were up at the Multopor ski area getting the race together. I took a few laps of the short track course to dial in the lines. Keep in mind, this is the first race on my hot new Lapierre mountain bike. I was getting compliments and “oooh’s and aaah’s” about it all day. It truly is sweet. I keep promising to do a photo-tech report on that bike. I promise, I will. I’ve been really busy, what can I say?
We all line up, peel off the layers of spandex and toss the waterbottles to the side. I scan the competition and figure out the game plan. The race starts on a downhill fireroad and takes a sharp right onto a rutted uphill to single track to a fireroad climb. The start is not too important but, getting onto the single track descent after the fireroad is. So, for once, I start the race pretty slowly, sitting back and watching it roll ahead of me, I’m in 6th position onto the fireroad and Eric, Shannon and I just barely pinch Cary Miller out of the single track and then drill it.
And that is about it. Eric took the reins and started motoring. After a couple laps I was yo-yo ing behind them and then I got in front of Shannon on the little climb and it stayed like that for the last ten minutes of the race. Crossed the finish line in second.
Steven Hunter took a good spill in the final lap of the STXC. Clipping a pedal on a rock and flying off the bike onto his head. He was shaken up but still in ok shape to race the cross country. Which he did.
I on the other hand, had zero energy and motivation for the XC race. I started and it became clear I had no legs. I turned it into a training ride and dragged a sick and tired Cary Miller around the course. We got to watch Eric roll down the “Gnar-Gnar” descent on a flat tyre for the win as Cary was fixing a stuck chain. I even got to help out the officials correct some misplaced course markings.
The lapierre is a pretty sweet bike. It was also my first ride on a UST tubeless wheelset. I got a pair of Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres and the Mavic Cross Max wheels that come stock on the Lapierre. wow. I can finally get away with sub 20 lbs. of pressure on a mountain bike! Some of the descents on the Skibowl course are downhill runs and the tubeless setup was awesome. I liked not having to worry about pinch flats and the traction was perfect.
Off to work.