Friday, June 27, 2008

Crested Butte Race Report

what a weekend... good, bad AND ugly!

So, to start - I'd never been to the butte before and I'm sure to go back now!

Ok, let's get started... I'm a gravity guy (no secret there) and am specializing in Dual Slolumn this year (no secret again) - and there was no DS race at CB. yea.... I'm already making excuses.
As long as I'm coming up with excuses - I have a tweaked wrist (read: probably broken, but I'm too lazy to go to the doctor), so I left my DH bike at home. I also hadn't ridden in about 3 weeks. Got all that? Good...

We arrive Friday late afternoon (missed DH practice), just in time to register and find a camp site above the resort. The two people I rode down with, Chris and Dan, are both a couple of lycra wearing roadies XC types... (dig) so this was destined to be weekend of conflicting schedules.
They both had races on Saturday morning, and I did my best to be a good support staff. Feedzone, pics, carry gear, etc. They both looked strong and had some good finishes. This was no doubt one of the harder races in the MSC, so I was happy to see them both battling the whole way for places.
Shortly after their races ended, my Super D practice started (simultaneous to the Sport Class DH). The Course started off with what felt like a 1/4 mile run. yea - that's dumb... but once on your bike, the course seemed to be a fun one. I had signed up to race Expert 30+, and had taken a look at last year's times so that I could get a get a solid idea of where to concentrate on time. I started practcing with some of the men's Open class entrants and quickly verified my initial fears. I can't climb. Descending was, of course, no problem - I don't think that there were more than 2 people at the race that could keep up with me, and there was certainly no-one at the race that could ride away from me. This brings me to my complaints write up...

Anyway... after timing a few runs, I found that I was riding int he high 12 minutes with my gear on (camelback, water, tubes, etc), and in the very low 12's with my race gear on (12:03 to be exact). Comparing this to last years times, I wasn't expecting a podium - but knew that I could improve upon this time (I don't practice over 80% effort)

So... these run made me think about DH'ing and how I wish I had brought my DH bike. My wrist was feeling pretty solid (LOTS of tape) so I rode over to the DH lift and took a ride up. My first run down was with the sport class guys... they all had DH bikes and I was on my Commencal (5 inch travel) with a camelback, and XC helmet and no pads. After some funny looks at the start, I pedaled onto the course and started letting go a bit. My wrist was feeling good and I was passing lots of the sport guys, so I knew I was in decent shape for the rest of the run. About 1/2 the way down was a road gap, with sport class practice going on, no one was jumping it. I took a look at it from above and ripped down the course and hit it (xc helmet and camelbak attached) with no problems... I had considered riding around, but all of the spectators looking fr carnage egged me on and I couldn't resist. Cheers erupted and disbelief was shouted as they all saw that i was on an XC bike.
The rest of the course was pretty smooth and the XC bike was a HUGE advantage. I could easily pedal soooo much faster than the other rides. The course actually borrowed from the XC route - so I was easily passing people who were working MUCH harder than I.

Another run during expert practice made me feel like I could have been extremely competitive (even on my xc bike), and wishing that I'd signed up. I was riding with a skill level much closer to mine, but I still felt very fast.It gave me hope for the rest of the DH season!

Race run...
I finished my run in about 8th or 9th place, rode up to about 6th or 5th place in the first fire road section (few hundred yards), got a flat in the beginning of the singletrack, passed 2 more people in the singletrack (with a flat) - and then lost it all back on the first real climb. I think that I would have held that spot without a flat, but who knows. Race winner had a time of 12:18 (doh!!!). Without a flat - I had a real chance at a podium.

Course complaints...

Super-D has a "D" in it to designate downhill or descent emhpasis, but I find that starting a course with an uphill run, and with more than 50% of your ride time spent climbing, AND with no real passing areas on the descent - this sport has become more Super-XC than Super-D. Really - this could have been one helluva good course, but the stupid uphill sections were too long and too xc.

Downhill - one the XC course? come on...

Well - I guess I'll do better next year, and I better have some improvements next race. I once had a coach that told me it was OK to lose as long as I learned and came back stronger.

1 comment:

Brett said...

If you were a fit rider you wouldn't spend 50% of your time climbing. Additionally, you flat way to much. Get the right tire casing or put a realistic amount of pressure in your tubes. Your not the svelte XC rider of yore. Actually, you never were. Plus you are a bit of a masher on your gear anyhow.

This all came off a bit rude but take it with my sarcastic complementary tone. Glad to hear you got out to a race.


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