Weeping Willow MTB Race 2012
Sport Junior Men
On Sunday I woke up at 6 to get ready for the race. My dad and I left at around 6:45 to go pick up Aidan. We arrived at Aidans house at 7:15 and left at around 7:20. It was a quick little pitstop. Driving up to Ipswich from Aidans house took around 35minutes and we got there in time to register and ride 1/3 of the course. We only did 3 miles because we weren’t really sure where we were. At around 9 we headed back around the course so that we could make it in time for our 9:30 start. When it was 9:30 people were still staging, because the organizers didn’t have it all organized.
The whistle blew for the 12-18 field and we were off. Aidan ended up getting the hole shot for the juniors and I followed right behind him. He led for about 1 mile and then I took over. After another mile we hit a steep uphill, and the junior who ended up winning the race got away from us. He was very strong. He was nowhere to be seen in the race. Aidan and I then worked together for the rest of the first lap, catching people and passing them. Just before the second lap, I put on my “afterburners” and I got away from Aidan. I then soloed for the rest of the second lap. I ended up coming in (3rd) which was a great result, because it was my 2nd mountain bike race, and I was already a cat 2. Cat 2 was definitely the right race for me to participate in because it was the right difficulty.
I enjoy riding my mountain bike and really hope I have more of a chance to race in the future. Its really funny to see the different people who participate in mountain bike events compared to road. Completely different. But I enjoy both, and as usual everyone there was nice when asking for help. Saw a lot of NEBC riders out! Great job guys!
Sport Junior Men
Just as I was about to head downstairs to pack my bag and get some sleep, my mom tells me that she needs the car first thing in the morning. Usually this wouldn’t be an issue, but since my dad was out of town with the other car, I had to do some scrambling and thankfully, Emil had room in his car to take me (thanks again Emil!)
We got to the course a little more then 1.5 hours before the start, got settled, and Brandon, Emil and I began to ride some of the course. It was good to get a sense of what the course was like, especially in a MTB race because there could be some extremely critical technical spots that you don’t know about. Luckily, the course was not too technical, except for a couple spots here and there that weren’t that big of a deal. We rode maybe 3-4 miles of the 7.5 mile lap, and turned back so we didn’t miss our start.
After some chaos in the staging, they ended up putting the 12-18 age group mixed with the 19-29. We started off, and I actually got 2nd into the first section of trails! I was sprinting like crazy to get up there, and feel pretty happy about that because I know there were some very strong riders in the 19-29 race. As the race settled in, I knew I went way to hard at the start, and lost about 5 spots or so, and held on to the back of the front group. Into the first section of single track, there was a bit of a pileup, and another rider in a green kit ran up past me and sat in right infront of me. Perhaps he had a teammate up front, or wasn’t feeling too strong that day, but he really blew mine, as well as everyone behind us, our chance of staying with the front group. There was nowhere to pass, so I just sat in and waited for the next section of double to pass.
Emil and I worked together for the next 15 minutes or so, and then I decided to do some pulling, and play some catch up. I pulled us pretty fast through the double-track and all the technical stuff, and we must have passed about 10 people (a mix of people from our field, and people in other fields). When we passed the finish line for the first time, Emil felt fresh, so he shot off and really put those Danish burners into action. Great ride from him!
I continued to ride at a steady pace although my legs were pretty tired from the day before (I had a not so ideal pre-race day ride at the Cycle Loft shop ride, and although I wasn’t tired from it, I was by no means “fresh”) and the racing the past 40 minutes or so, and then another junior came out of nowhere and sat on my wheel for about 20 minutes. He eventually passed me when I got caught behind another rider who was stumbling on a steep climb. I caught back up to him, and realized that his skills on the technical terrain were far superior to mine. He flowed through the corners so smoothly, and just made it look so easy. I worked really hard to stay with him, and he always seemed to find a way to pass people on the single track when I had no possible way of doing so. I eventually was able to stay with him till the end, and out-sprinted him by a few feet for the finish. I believe that put me into (fourth) place for the age group. Not too shabby for my first cat 2 race.
Sport Junior Men
Leading up to the race, I was pretty excited for another chance to race off road. The day of the race, though, I was not. My stomach was bothering me a lot and my allergies were slapping me across the face. I got to the race pretty early, about 7:45, which allowed me plenty of time to warmup and preride the course before the 9:30 start. My legs were still a bit tired from getting beat down on Thursday night, but all things considered, they were feeling pretty good.
I didn’t get a great start because I had trouble clipping into my pedal. The start was pretty chaotic with so many groups going so close together but I think I was in 5th spot for my group. Emil, Aidan, a CF rider and another rider were up the trail, but intermixed were random riders from other categories. The beginning of the lap has, relatively speaking, a lot of double track and isn’t very technical. That said, people were hammering. The five of us stayed pretty close together during this section. The double track quickly turned into single, technical trail. All the riders got into one line and the line stretched pretty far out. I could still see the “other” rider and Aidan but they were a lot farther away from me because of this. I kept my position in the group with only a few bobbles here and there, nothing too major. We started to drift backwards, though, because some guy couldn’t keep with the guy in front of him. Just a few minutes after losing sight of the juniors in front of me, I crashed. It was a slight downhill section with a swooping right hander and I clipped a tree on the left with my handlebar. I flew of my bike and landed on my right shoulder which immediately started hurting. I think the luckiest part of the whole situation was that no one ran me over. Once the initial shock went away I dragged my bike of to the side of the trail. My shoulder was hurting pretty bad but I could quickly tell it wasn’t separated (at least a lot) or broken. I got back on and started to ride but the bumps in the trail caused quite a bit of pain and I decided to abandon the race. Honestly, I probably could’ve kept going because I knew there wasn’t much I could do to worsen it, but I just didn’t have it in me to fight through the pain. My stomach was hurting (bumpy trails don’t help) and I was have trouble breathing through my nose. Throw in the fact that my shoulder was now killing me and I reached a breaking point.
Even though my race was short, I still learned a few things. Mainly, that I am not as technically proficient as other “sport” riders. Even before the crash I was slipping around a bit and riding a bit over my head. I need to improve both my skills and my composure so I can improve as a mountain biker. And I’m hoping to solve my stomach issues this week which will cut away another problem I’ve been having recently. With these improvements I think my results will also begin to improve.
Beginner Junior Men
[No report submitted]