Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Psycowpath #1 - Maskenthine XC Classic

The first race of the year and my first XC mountain bike race ever was on Saturday at the Lake Maskenthine Recreation Area near Stanton, NE. I knew going in that I was unprepared and under trained. This condition was due to several factors, including; travel, colds, and laziness. That being said, I kept telling myself that the reason I was doing this was to get my first race jitters out of my system and learn some things that I would be able to apply to later races.

I left Lincoln at 7AM and arrived about an hour and twenty minutes before the gun. I quickly got myself and my bike ready for action. Met up with Harp, Rob, and Ryan and set off to get registered. The thinking was that by doing this now we would be saving ourselves time standing in line later. However, the whole process took much longer than expected. Afterwards we headed onto the course for a warm up lap. We completed what we thought was very near a full lap before it was time to head back to get ready for the start.

I was surprised to find my nerves to be at a manageable level while awaiting the start. The initial pace was slower than I had expected. The course begins with a climb up a gravel road before diving into the singletrack and I was in fourth at that point. From there you head downhill and into some trees where there are several log crossings of various sizes and a stone creek crossing. This part of the course was a little muddy, but I was still bummed to find that the guys in front of me were jumping off their bikes and running this section. I wanted to ride! The course then climbs out and switchbacks back and forth on an exposed hill. About halfway through this section Ryan came up behind me and shortly afterward on a tight hairpin turn I went down. I was never close to him again and he finished a strong third place in beginner open.

The rest of the course alternated between being exposed to the wind and climbing/descending in the trees. Some of these climbs were just soft enough that it really sapped your power. I was also dismayed to discover that what we thought was a nearly full lap when we were warming up was really only about half a lap. I dealt with some cramping in my calves throughout the race, but luckily not in both at the same time. The second lap went a little better than the first as my body finally realized what was going on, but at this point it was too late to make much difference.

Overall it was a good time on a great racecourse. Given another season to mature, the bumps will be smoothed out and it will be even more fun to ride. The race was well run and I have nothing but good things to say about the promoters or the race vibe.

I ended up 6th of 12 in the beginner open class. My buddy Robb raced in the beginner masters 35+ class and ended up winning the race by a couple minutes, beating all the open class racers on a singlespeed! Great job man. Hopefully some of his speed will rub off on me.

Robb and I post-race with our El Mariachis

The El Mar was rock solid during the race and responded well to my tired and ill-timed shifts on the hills. I received a lot of compliments on the bike.

Anyway, its time to start training for real. I'll post some more pictures in the coming days.


crewcabrob said...

Nice write up Justin. It was a good time and glad we hooked up with you for the preride.

I didn't realize you went down on the course? It was crazy with all the hairpins, logs and climbs.

I'm trying to organize a trip to Omaha to ride Swanson before the next race. Do you want in if we go?

Harp said...

The more you race the more you learn. It was a good showing for your first race.

millhouse said...

Yeah, I fell, but it was nothing major. I just hit my inside pedal on the ground during the turn.

I definitely want to head up to Swanson at least once before the race. Let me know.


crewcabrob said...

The Team Gibson boys are looking at 1pm on Saturday to ride Swanson. I'm checking on Ryan to see if he will be able to go up. If you want to ride along, we have space on the rack.

I'm not sure if you will see this or not, as it's not the current post. let me know at gibsordp at Allstate.com Sorry, tired of the spammers getting my email address.