Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mountain Bike National Championships, Mtn Snow Vermont

Finally getting caught up enough to have a minute to write about the weekends racing highlights. Sorry for the long and randomly detailed post but I have had multiple requests to provide insight into racing and traveling from some up and comers. You don't have to read it!

Rog and I flew to Hartford through Chicago via United. We used the PIKA double case and the airline dude did not charges us for the bikes, off to a good start. The flights were good and as usual my 20-30mmhg knee high compression stockings worked wonders. We met Sager, Stephanie, and Bryan at the airport and packed our Buick Rainier rental tight with 2 bikes strapped to the top. Of course it was pouring rain. The drive through Massachusetts and up into Vermont was good despite a 2 hr stop for bad Mexican food.

Woke up and had my normal cold cereal breakfast. Built the bikes and headed out for a pre ride of the course. It had been raining all week and had now just started to dry out in the open sections. The course is one of the best around with a lot of steep climbing, gnarly descending, roots, rocks, fast transition sections, and when muddy a few sections that are faster to run. With the changing weather and multiple races, the course would morph from hour to hour making tire selection as well as fork/tire air pressure difficult. In Utah we seldom get to race on crazy wet roots and rocks so it takes a few minutes to get the feel of letting the bike float around underneath you, like everything it takes confidence. I felt ok but nothing special, legs a little heavy from traveling all day.

Friday at 5pm the u23's raced and Bryan put in inspiring ride in a podium position the entire race until a last lap fade pushed him to 6th. The thinner of the thinner and thinnest duo had a good push at the end to place 5th. In the juniors the thicker of the thinner and thinnest duo rode to a strong podium position with Utah's own Ryan Harrison not far behind. Later in the afternoon we watched the women's race which was fun, the racing looked tough and only made me more excited for Saturday.

Alex G and Sammy made it up Friday afternoon and rounded out our condo crew. Alex also put together a personal best of 13th from the back row, anyone that has raced with him this year was expecting something big.

I was up early in the feed zone for Rog's race and again watched some good racing. Despite doing 3 laps at the last minute Rog rode well and placed 3rd less than 1 minutes behind the winner. Unfortunately with so many riders on the course from multiple categories knowing where your at is difficult. I guess Rog's comeback from a mid-season back injury is well underway.

We raced at 2 pm and the weather was perfect at about 80F and sunny. I stayed with my XCR tires front and year because I like the volume and am familiar with how they ride in changing conditions, I also like that because they are not a tall mud tire they don't cake up as much. Pressure wise I ran a little more air in the tires and a little less air in the shocks as I wanted a soft ride through the hidden muddy rocks but also was worried about flatting. Rear 32psi, Front 29psi, fork 100psi, rear shock 65psi. Worked perfect.

My plan was to race conservative knowing that this is nearly a 2.5 hr race where you work on the DH nearly as much as work on the climbs- no rest.

From a mid pack start position I quickly established a good rhythm and moved into the top 20. On the climb to the top I had to keep holding myself back knowing the my best result would come from metering my effort over the entire distance. The DH was a blast and I hooked up with Carl Decker and Eric Tonkin to bust through the next couple laps. I noticed when it got steep on the climbs I was going well and was very excited as I slowly started to pull away from guys. Going into the last lap I was feeding well and continued to have good energy. I was now in 9th place and found myself climbing as fast as lap one, I caught Korber and Jeff Hall before the top and rode the last DH carefully, once on the bottom rollers I could see Tonkin chasing me and gassed it to the finish for 7th place. The coolest part of the whole deal was coming into the finish and only seeing the NORBA big guns (Craig, Bishop, Wells, etc) had finished. I also got some props from the announcers about being a 40hr a week working stiff which was pretty cool.

After the DV NORBA I decided to stop working around the house so much for a few weeks and try to prepare for Nationals in Vermont. My preparation went well and I put together the best race I could. To me thats whats it's all about. Placing 7th was cool but riding my race and having the form come together at the right time is what I will always remember.

With our STXC scheduled for a late 5:45pm this day had the potential to be really boring or a great time. We decided early on that we were not going to wait around all day keeping our legs up for a lame 20 minute race and instead got out to explore the mountains of Vermont.

We did a 3 hr road ride through the mtn villages of Vermont to a secret swimming hole complete with cliffs and rope swing. It was nearly the high light of the weekend. Upon returning I consumed a coke and changed kits to burn the STXC. Because I have not done any short tracks this year I started at the back which can be kind of fun if you have a little luck. I got off the line pretty good and raced to a 15th place. I just needed a tiny bit more power at the end of the race and I could have made the selection into the top 10, although I would not have traded the days activities for a little more juice.

Monday: Rog and I had a 5:20 pm flight out of Hartford but had to drop Jason and crew off at the airport in the am so we had some time kill in Connecticut. We explored downtown Hartford and went to a cemetery from the early 1700's, you can't see that in the west. The flight was nearly flawless and we made it home around 11pm. The tough part about pretending to be a Pro bike racer for the weekend is returning home and getting up early to be a Pro physical therapist.

Anyway, thanks to all that made the trip possible especially Mona Vie who has been supplying me with the power of the berry. sorry no pics, I forgot my camera.

I am hoping to get out for a good ride this Saturday morning if anyone is interested. Maybe wolfcreek pass on the road bikes or the BC crest loop on MTB's. Drop me a line if your up for something fun.



Blogger StupidBike said...

way to go Bart, i was psyched to hear the news.

9:44 AM

Blogger Eat Sleep MTB said...

Congratulations, that is a stellar finish!

9:44 AM

Blogger Grizzly Adam said...

Nice work Bart! Glad to see you tear it up out there.

12:36 PM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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