Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Catching Up

Wow, its been awhile since I posted. Here's a quick recap: Closing. Moving. Cornhusker State Games. Work. Laramie. WORK. Video. Very busy but I know there are people waiting and wanting to hear whats been up so I'll try to start working through it all.

Closing went smoothly and so did the move despite the heat. We had a ton of great help all weekend (July 17-21). Thanks to everyone who helped us clean and move and start putting things away. Providing even more stress fun and to give ourselves a break was the Cornhusker State Games MTB race. I was excited because this was the first time that Laura would get to see me race and because I was eager to atone for what I considered to be a weak showing at the Norfolk race.

Awaiting the start (Pic courtesy of Cornbread)
Showed up just late enough that I didn't really have time to warm up, and it was already obvious that it was going to be a very hot and humid day. I had trained a lot since the first race of the year in preparation for Laramie, but due to rain and nature of the race, I hadn't spent a lot of time on singletrack. The beginning of the race played to my strengths in that it was a long grassy leadout before getting to the meat of the trail. Dan, myself and Ryan went off the front and put a bit of a gap on the rest of the pack. Hitting the trail in second place, my lack of singletrack riding caught up with me as I slowed down excessively in a corner and felt Ryan run into my back tire. It wasn't long before Dan rode away from us never to be seen again (by me anyway). This didn't bother me too much because Dan is a super strong rider and wasn't in the same age group that I was (I still need to hone my killer racing instinct).

I was able to maintain second place for half of the first lap before Ryan came around me and then another racer shortly after that on the next climb. My legs were feeling good, but I definitely was lacking the short burst power and cornering necessary for success. At this point I was in 4th overall and 3rd in my age group. I was caught by one more rider from the 35+ age group near the end of the lap and was relieved to hear that there wasn't anyone behind us for several minutes. He was able to get around me when I dabbed in a muddy section dropping me to 5th.

The second lap started pretty uneventful as I considered that as long as I didn't do anything stupid I would land on the podium for the first time in my very short stint as a racer. I kept looking around on the switchbacks and never saw anyone coming up behind me. Looking up the switchback climb it seemed like I was gaining ground back on Ryan, but it was hard to tell. I dropped my chain due to mud buildup toward the end of the lap but was able to get it back on quickly. The lap finishes with a long downhill on a service road followed by the reverse of the grassy section that started the race. As I entered the last singletrack section before the final stretch, I felt the dreaded squirm of my front tire that meant a flat. The singletrack was short so I hopped off and ran out to the top of the service road. I did a quick evaluation and determined that I wasn't going to change the tube. I wasn't thinking too clearly at this point but decided that I would run the rest of the way (about a mile).

After an hour of racing running in cycling shoes and pushing a bike with a flat tire is not fun at all. I kept looking back to see if anyone was catching me, and surprisingly I didn't see anyone. I was finally passed for fifth overall when I was within sight of the finish line. I didn't recognize the rider and had no idea if he was in my age group or not.

Running my bike to the finish line.
Post-race. Not a lot of explanation needed for this one...

Afterward I mostly just moped around and felt horrible. The effort totally wiped me out and I was pretty sure I had lost third in my category. I got cleaned up and Laura and I hung around to hear the final results. It took awhile for things to get sorted and it was about 45 minutes after I finished when I realized what I did wrong. A more experienced (or cognizant) racer would have reinflated the tube as it was and rode it out. Even if I had to stop and put in more air it would have been much faster than running the whole way. Oh well, I won't make that mistake again.

When the results were announced I was surprised to find out that I had held on to third place and took home a fancy bronze medal. Ryan got second in our age group and Rob, Robb, and Harp all had good races as well.

I'll try to recap the Laramie race soon. I think most of you know already, but I wasn't able to finish due to some severe dehydration. Robb on the other hand, killed it. More on all that in the coming days (I hope).

8 comments:

Redbone said...

Congrats on the bronze. Are you ready for next weekend?

millhouse said...

Pretty much. I haven't had much time to ride though.

Richard and Heather said...

okay, dumb question, but how do you make the word with a line through it? I have been trying every key command I can think of and still am unable to do it. In your post, you crossed off stress and put fun. I've seen that on other blogs too, but I haven't been able to do it.

oh, and i'm glad you are back to updating your blog!

crewcabrob said...

Great recap Justin! You had a great race and a strong finish for the bronze!

I'm looking forward to hearing about the Laramie race. Sorry to here you DNF.

millhouse said...

Heather,
It's not really a stupid question. You go to the "Edit Html" tab when you are posting and place the following tags around the word you want to line out, "<"strike">" & "<"/strike">" (without the quotations marks). Then when you publish or preview your post you should see it.

Harp said...

Good to hear from you again.

Laura said...

Laramie update soon?
is your wife keeping you too busy again? ;)

Harp said...

Check out the pirate cycling league blog and look at the good life gravel adventure. Maybe we should team up (so I don't get lost so easily) and try it out. Could be fun.