Thursday, July 30, 2009

MNSCS #6 Hillside Park

Sorry This will be the abbreviated version on what happened and to the point. Ok, for starters this was a great venue that Rich organized and he did a great job and remodeling the trails to accommodate a race of this caliber. They finally got the call ups in the right order this time and started from 1st instead of 10th. I lined up next to Brendan just like last race. I told myself that I would start out slower and work into it since that is what has been working best for me this year instead of trying to keep up with people I have no chance against (yet) and then paying for it at the end like in Redwing. Off the line I let up at the first corner down the dirt road and said for Brendan to go in front of me. We turned off the road and went up a short steep powerline trail for a couple hundred yards did a 180 turn and descended back down to the road. I didn't put in any huge efforts up the climb and i was a bit further back than I wanted to when we came back to the road. I saw Brendan and Jeff up ahead and they weren't going full gas so I put in an effort to get up further. Right before the entrance of the single track I saw Justin b-lining it for the hole shot. I let Sam in front of me to take TJ Woodruffs wheel, so we were sitting around 6 and 7th or so. Over the course of the first lap Luke Nelson and I broke off from Chris Fisher and Justin Rinehart with Sam, Jeff Hall, and Brendan up ahead of us. Luke was a good pacer and his tenacity was showing. He kept me going right at my threshold and kept me from getting complacent, he was the perfect lead man. At the end of the first lap TJ caught us after loosing air in his tire and having to put some air in it. After he passed, Luke sill tried to keep up but Tj put in some big efforts to pull a gap on us. Luke didn't want to let him get away that easily and I could tell he still thought he had a chance to reel him back in. through the course of the 2nd lap and into the 3rd and final, TJ maybe put in a maximum gap of about 15 sec. but began to loose it. I was watching Luke and seeing where he struggled and where I excelled and was trying to think of the best spot to attack. I noticed that he stood up alot on the climbs and pounded a big gear on his hard tail. I was taking advantage of the full suspension and was spinning a higher gear and using my momentum more efficiently. The trail system was split into 4 sections and sections 3 and 4 on the east side of the dirt road were the hilliest. We were gaining on TJ and were within 5-10 seconds when I made my move on Luke. I took the lead at the top of that powerline climb I talked about at the start because I knew he struggled through the rock garden at the bottom when we entered the single track the last 2 times. I had a better line than him and the full sus. helps alot through that kind of stuff. I took off after TJ and tried to get out of sight of Luke. In mtbing if you get out of sight of someone you can count on that other person having a tougher time mentally getting their body to put in the effort necessary to catch back up. TJ knew I was coming and and I knew he was putting in some strong efforts to try and hold me off. I was feeling good this time and I kept up with the positive waves. "It was a mother beautiful bridge" (Odd Ball- Kellies Hero's). Yes, I bridged the gap and was glued to his back wheel like day old oatmeal. No words were spoken the entire time. For 3/4 of a lap I was so motivated that I had caught TJ, this was a huge accomplishment for me even if he was having a bad day because I have never done this before. He was tough though and put in big surges on the straighter sections (if you could say there was a straight section in this course) so I couldn't get around easy. I knew it would come down to a finishing sprint. When the time did come I just slammed the gears put my head down and pedaled as hard as I could. He eeked me out by a bike length over the course of a 100 yard sprint but i was slowly gaining on him. Great race though. I loved the course. Thanks racers and volunteers, and Rich for another wonderful MNSCS.


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