Monday, April 11, 2011

Ride the scream machine to Fair Hill

Results With fifty pros at Fair Hill, The racing was full on the whole time to say the least...

Been ripping on the full suspension and having so much fun lately. So when faced with the question on what bike I would ride in this weeks M.A.S.S. opener at Fair Hill I was confused to say the least. Would I take the 18lb hardtail to this mostly flat and windy course? Or would I ride the fully? The eleventh hour decision to ride the full suspension was made. After all many of the heavy hitters are on fullys, so why not me?
Riding down to Maryland in the scare bus with the core group of VTC'ers, driven by (thank god he lives on the other side of the park) "Dave aka Panhead", was quite an adventure. I knew it would be a long ride when he said "don't be surprised if we get pulled over, we don't have any taillights". With the luck of the Irish (German), we arived safe and very warm at the venue where I proceeded to dive from the truck and kiss the muddy ground. Shortly after I went out for a prelap while the rest of the VTC group decided to take a nap. The course was wet but tacky with some corners that had some mud but nothing too hairy. After my lap I came back to the truck to get my bottles, ten minutes before the start of the race and somehow I was not surprised to find everyone sleeping in the truck. After waking just about everyone up I rolled to the line for pre staging.
I had decided earlier that I was gonna race from the gun trying to make the lead group and stay there as long as I could. This is a departure from my normal slow start and pick people off single speed strategy. I make the lead group in part because of my early season fitness and part due to the way I was able to ride the first doubletrack downhill with reckless abandon (while flipping through songs on my Ipod) mostly due to the suspension. Entering the singletrack section in about 10th and able to see all the way to the front rider was good enough for me. I could hear that behind me a few others had made the initial selection and were on the Schalk (Trek Bikes) train also. I rode the opening lap on Dylan Alesio's wheel, never feeling overly taxed. Coming through the start area after the first lap I considered attacking the group but with the caliber of riders remaining I had abandoned that train of thought quickly and so I stuck with the strategy of "hang on as long as you can and see how it pans out". There were many accelerations in that second lap and right before you cross the road I got caught out, leaving me dropped. Keeping the back of the lead group in sight but never being able to get back up there kind of sucks, but my thoughts are now turned to preserving my lead over the chasers and possibly picking off any stragglers. Going into the final lap I can see David Wood (Bike Doctor) chasing. I decided that I will keep my head down and make it as hard as possible for him to catch on, I managed to keep the gap at about 50 yards for the entire 7 mile lap. He did get up to me at the end of the final lap due to some lap traffic but I took the sprint for 7th quite easily.
This was my first XC distance race this season and I felt great, dare I say the race seemed short.
I'm competing in the M.A.S.S. series this year and if the races are all gonna be this competitive it's gonna be a blast....

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done, and now for the mudfest called Singlespeed-a-Palooza