Sunday, July 12, 2009

Red Wing

Photo from Dana SchoppeIMG_8984

  Plenty of pain to go around today at Red Wing. A few major changes to the course this year. In years past we just went around one field for the prologue but this year they added another field before entering the first single track section. In years past they also just had one of the 2 major climbs in the area to go up, this year we had to climb both of them. They also added a steep section at the end of the lap before the finish to add insult to injury. There was a few more little sections of new stuff that was in there as well. IMG_9008

Off the line I got on Brendan's wheel in second and stayed there. The prologue was extra long this year before going into the single track, but the pace Brendan set didn't seem over the top. I was a little reluctant going in in 2nd wheel because I didn't want to slow down Sam and Jack if Brendan built a gap. Surprisingly I did a good job staying with Brendan for the first half of the lap that is until we hit the hills. Sam Jack and Eric Thompson went around me when we hit the first major climb. I held my own and didn't let too big of a gap go out. After a downhill section and hill traverse we hit the "Stairway to Heaven" which is a super rocky and steep ascent. What makes this climb hard is the big rocks and lack of a "good" line up it. There is just no main line up the thing at the top when it kicks up and your forced to power over loose rock.

  IMG_9227All four were in sight still but that was it. Sam, Brendan, and Jack broke away leaving Eric and I to have our battle. After the first lap I was feeling it and I had to back it down for a while.The second lap Eric put a sizeable gap on me, about 1:32 at one point according to Floyd.


After I let myself recover for a bit I started feeling better and was being more efficient through the tight single track. There was a group chasing me that I marked going into the 2nd lap but they dropped back on the 3rd lap. Eric abandoned his chase for the leaders during lap 2 and I started gaining the time back. When I started the final lap I caught Eric in the open fields of the prologue and rode past him. The last thing I wanted was to have Eric with me for a sprint, so I tried to put as much time on him in the technical single track. Mid way through the lap and before all the climbs my legs were sending me signals, very bad signals. The cramping had begun. I dropped out of the big ring and tried to spin as much as I could. I was just praying that my legs would be able to make it up the climbs without Eric catching me. I made it up the first major climb albeit slowly but at least I wasn't on the side of the trail screaming in pain and my legs disabled. Tom Rinehart gave me half a bottle near the top which might have saved me from total lock up. I hit the stairway to heaven hard to get enough momentum to take me as far as I could. I rode the first 3/4 but didn't even attempt the tops steep kick up. I was running a hair thin line in having my calves and quads lock up but I made it. On my way over to the quarry descent I look behind me to see an expert rider I didn't recognize. When he came up I asked if he wanted to pass, "No your faster through the single track than me, I am just making my time on the climbs". "What's your name", I ask. "Adam Swank", he says. Ah, that explains it I think to myself. Adam is a pro xc skier I know he was on the Subaru team and don't know if he still is, all I know is those xc skiers have some crazy fitness. I descended into the quarry leading him but let him buy when we started to climb out since I had to run that one too.IMG_9500

I did hold off Eric in the end even running on damage control but still I was one hurting unit when I crossed the finish line in 5th overall with a time of 2:14 Brendan and the front trio creamed me. Brendan took the win and Sam in second and Jack in 3rd. Sam and Brendan were over 8 min ahead of me, that was kind of disappointing. I guess I can't complain since I'm going to school and working. My training will be more consistent after school is over in 2 weeks, AND we are planning a trip to Colorado early to mid August and I can work on my climbing there. Peace!

Photos courtesy of Bruce at


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