Sunday was the second race of the WVMBA series. This race was at Big Bear Lake near Morgantown, WV. It is the same location as the 24 Hours of Big Bear.
Last year when I went to this race there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground, not the case this year. It was around 50 degrees when we arrived at the race around 10:30 or so. By the time the race started it was around 60 degrees or so, perfect!
The race started at noon with the experts taking off a minute or so before my group, the Sport class riders. This included the high school class, sports of all ages both men and women. It was a pretty decent sized group.
The race started off with a 1.3 mile road ride then going immediately into tight, rocky, rooty singletrack. I was about the 7th or 8th to hit the singletrack. I was pretty happy with this. As soon as we started people started having troubles which slowed the group up quite a bit. It was pretty heavy traffic for about the first 30 minutes, couldn't really do much of anything. I was able to get around a rider here and there. I was also passed a time or two so it became a bit confusing on what position I was in.
Most of the people were pretty willing to let me around them, all except for one woman, not sure who she was. I spent ten minutes trying to get around her. I would yell going on your left, she would stand up, speed up and cut me off, same when I tried going around to the right. I just don't understand what she was doing. I finally did get around her and never saw her again.
Around the 45 - 50 minute mark I passed another sport rider then shortly afterwards I passed another expert woman. I did my best to put some time between her and myself since I was hoping the sport rider wouldn't get around her immediately (even though she did let me by with no problems). I had a nice gap when I came up on a recently downed tree. I jumped off the bike, over the tree and slammed my bike down and jumped on. That's when I started spinning like a hamster. I looked down and saw my chain was off. I took a few seconds to fix it. The expert woman was right on my rear wheel after this, very poilitely asking if I was alright, I said yeah and we continued on.
We came up on a pretty nasty little downhill. This is when I remembered that I am not the fastest technical downhill rider. I was doing alright though until I picked a bad line and ended up in a swamp with a bunch of rocks. At this point the female expert went right around me. I was passed by a beautiful woman that can ride, there are worse things that can happen I guess. A minute later we started the climb again and she let me right back around and told me to have fun and wished me luck.
Now I pass another rider that I thought was a vet expert. We then get to the split, experts go right, sport left. The guy followed me. I yelled back at him to find out his class, we were both in sport 18 - 34. Looks like it was going to be a race the next three miles. I was able to put a nice gap between me and him when my rear wheel decided to lock up on me. I had what appeared to be a small tree lodged between my wheel and my rear triangle. I was able to jerk it out but not before I was passed. I followed what I thought was the first place rider for a minute or two when he let me around. That really suprised me, I thought he would make me fight for the position. It's nice to see good sports out there.
Anyway, about 1.5 miles to go and I just gave it everything I had. I opened up a nice gap on him and kept going. I came up on this one spot a little too fast, I think you are supposed to roll into it but I didn't have time. It appeared to be about a six foot drop down to a bunch of logs across a ditch, I'm sure it was more like a two foot drop though, it just seemed bigger. Anyway I hit it and thought for sure I was going to blow both tires when I landed. I was happily suprised that everything held up.
I just kept pedaling my butt off thinking I was in the lead, went across the finish and felt like I was going to die. That was when I looked over at the results and saw that there had already been one sport racer to cross the line, I ended up second. I found out later that he was the first in the woods and was able to avoid the cluster at the beginning of the race, a pretty big advantage and an overall good move which I am sure contributed to him beating me by a full three minutes.
I feel that I rode as well as I have ridden, I felt like I climbed great and I was flying through the single track. I just need to work on my downhill skills some and my confidence. This is nothing new since this has always been a weakness of mine. I ride technical pretty well, just slow.
Anyway, I ended up with second place out of 30 or so racers in my class. My first podium finish in the Sport Class. I can live with that. Much better than last week.
Here is my heart rate data from the race.
Aproximately 1,500 feet of climbing (not bad for 14.5 miles)
avg hr 162 (my highest to date)
zone 1: 1:05
zone 2: 2:25
zone 3: 7:40
zone 4: 32:30
zone 5: 35:49