Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Limits of Traction

Headed out to Wilderness Park after work today. I was hoping to make it all the way through the park and back, but the low spots south of Old Cheney were as marshy as ever. So I ended up turning around and just riding laps on the drier track on the north end. On the way back I rode some on the hiker trail; my first time on those trails. It was really fun, and there was no wetness anywhere on that side. You just have to be more careful about using your trail bell, and I always gave any hikers a wide berth and a friendly hello, since technically I shouldn't have been riding over there.

The goal was to remember how to ride my bike on tight, twisty trail before the race this weekend. It seems to me, based on what I have heard and on the trail map, that Swanson is a race that will be won and lost based on speed through the turns. Is that a wrong assumption? Anyway, I was really pushing the corners tonight, and managed to cross over the line from traction to washout on a tight right hand turn. Its alright though, no harm done, and I needed to experience that so I know what my current skill level and tire selection can handle.


Harp said...

What you heard is right about the swanson course. Last year when I raced there the downhill turns slowed me down and allowed some of the other riders to get away from me.

millhouse said...

Yeah, I have a feeling too that it will be tough to hang with the Omaha crowd. This is their backyard; its like if we had a race at Wilderness.

crewcabrob said...

For me, Swanson was about as far away from Wilderness as we can get. Turns, log crossings, tight sections, roots and not flat at all. It's not like Maskenthine, in the respect that the hills were long up hill grinders. It's more that you are going up and down much more often and for shorter distance. For what THOR calls and easy trail, I really see this one as a bit more technical that what we see normally in Lincoln.

There are tight sections on the trail between trees that will un-nerve you a bit. There are some steep sections that will un-nerve you a bit, and I saw more than one rider put a leg down at the hairpin. It's very fun, but lots of places to make errors and get into trouble fast.

Justin, I'm with you on this. The guys that ride it all of the time will be hard to keep up with. The guys I rode with last week knew where all the hard spots were and were coaching me as we went through.

My advice is to follow someone fairly close on the first lap and see all that you can see. On the second lap, let her loose and hope you can recall what comes next. I would love to follow my own advice, but I can't hardly remember anything once I pass it on the trail. I go into react mode for every lap.

Oscar said...

crewcabrob is just right on his appraisal of Swanson. To me, it's all about the accelerations out of those corners. It's tight enough much of the time that you can't just lean it over and fly. You're forced to slow down a bit then accelerate hard coming out. That, combined with the punchy climbs, makes it very different than Maskenthine.
Some pre-ride time will definitely help.