Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Triple Crown # 3-Hoo Ha Race Report

This past weekend I made the journey out to Virginia for the final race in the Triple Crown MTB Race Series. I had mixed emotions coming into the weekend. On one hand the race was on the east coast, which generally means roots, rocks, and MUD. I am terrible at riding in muck and wasn’t looking forward to that aspect. But on the other hand I was looking forward to checking out a new part of the country for me and seeing a new venue.

Well, my trepidation about the mud went unrealized. The course was still rocky but there was no mud to be found, only tacky dirt. And the venue didn’t disappoint. The Shenandoah Bicycle Community has done amazing things with this trail system. They have built many big banked turns and spent days moving gigantic boulders around to make a bunch of features on the trails.

First up for the weekend was the Super D. I’m not known for my descending prowess but I amazed myself by tying for 5th place. After an early bobble I focused on riding smooth and pinning it on any uphill. The strategy worked pretty well.

Later that day I toed the line for the STXC. I spent most of the day 50 yards off of the two leaders, unable to fully bridge. I was able to take advantage of crash in the last corner of the race and take 2nd place. This is my strongest showing in a STXC ever.

The final event of the weekend was the XC race on Sunday. I was feeling pretty good about my fitness after the previous day’s two events but unfortunately Murphy’s Law struck. It started when I bent a chainlink near the beginning of the race. I tried to continue to ride with the bent link but my chain was skipping all over the place whenever I put down any power so I pulled off the trail, used a chain tool to pull out the broken link and then assembled my chain with a “Quick Link” that I type to my bike. After the chain was fixed I knew that a great result was out of the question but instead just focused my effort on passing as many people as I could. That was more difficult than it sounds because the uphill was almost all on singletrack and people weren’t too keen on letting me by. I did my best though and worked my way through the field only to hit a rock really hard on the downhill and hear the dreaded “hisss” of a flat tire. I was able to get the Stan’s “No Tubes” sealant in my tire to seal the leak and was able to continue racing, only needing to stop to fill my tire with my Big Air twice.

In the end I finished well enough in the XC to end up in 5th place for the weekend. The result also secured a 2nd place in the overall Triple Crown Series. Despite the frustrating mechanicals it was still a great weekend and I’m happy with the overall result.