Saturday, June 27, 2009

87% Throttle: Race 3

I finally have some excuses for poor race performance other than I'm slow. I showed up Wednesday night at Solitude hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Instead I fell somewhere in between. I'd been fighting a nasty headcold all week but when when race time rolled around I went with the old adage that if a cold is from the neck up you're OK to exercise. Rhonda and I did a pre-ride lap and I felt OK but I was having some major drivetrain issues. When I got back to the car I gave the bike a close examination and realized I had a severely bent link in my chain that made my rear D ghost shift under strain. If you're counting from home that's excuse #2. Going up the road on the opening sprint I died and settled into mid-pack a few riders behind Wedge. I started getting warmed up on the climb but as I got out of the saddle to power up the first steep pitch my rear D locked up and I had to pull over to free up my chain. 5-6 guys got around me and I mounted back up and tried to remember to stay seated and nurse my drivetrain by spinning. I made a few passes on the climb and re-connected with Wedge at the road. Stood up to try to put some distance into him on the paved hill and the drivetrain popped again reminding me that that wasn't going to happen today. Rode behind Wedge across the top and he hit the decent about 30 seconds ahead of me. After getting completely bitched by Wedge and his 5" at Desert Rampage my goal on the DH was to hold his wheel as long as possible. I lost a little time to him on the real rough stuff but I finished the DH and entered the climb right on his wheel giving me my lone bright spot of the race. Felt OK on the second climb but 3/4 of the way up I cracked. No power left, HR in a downward spiral and an upset stomach full of post nasal drip forced me to back off the the throttle. My time ended up being about 4 minutes slower than my average time from last year. Not horrible considering.

Rhonda led most of her race but the girl who has won all three womens races was playing a bit of cat and mouse. She played with Rhonda by staying in contact behind her the first lap and then stepped on the gas at the end of the final climb giving it just enough to make sure she won. Rhonda held off the girls behind her for 2nd place.

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