Mountain bike season officially ended Saturday at the Iceman. If you would have asked me going into the race what I thought would have been a good result I would have said top 3 despite the entrance of some really big names and a long list of the normal top contenders. I was feeling confident with my fitness and racing after Boulder last weekend and training went well during the week. If you would have asked 10 minutes into the race how I thought I was going to finish though I would have said outside the top 20 I felt so bad. I don't know what it is lately but sometimes I am just hit or miss and Saturday I was miss. I was miss so bad early on I couldn't even move up inside the top 20 and was sure I would miss the move that seperates the top 5-6 from the rest of the race. I think partly it was due to my mtn bike not fitting like my cross bike. That is strange because I have been riding that bike quite a bit but I haven't done efforts on it and I think that really hurt me. As soon as we were going hard I felt wrong in my position - to high and forward on the bike and my legs were just hating it and I just didn't notice that subtle change while going easy pulling the burley in the weeks prior.
Anyway, I suffered probably the most I have suffered in a race all year to eventually drag myself across a couple open gaps and finally establish myself on the back of the lead train maybe 30 minutes into the race and I thought I was going to die. Anytime the race slowed or or we were climbing I was fine, but anytime we were going fast my legs felt like they had rubber bands holding them back and were just screaming at me. I have been doing motorpacing and fast cross races and so I guess the only explanation is my fit was just a little off. Maybe I was having a little off day too, or a little dehydrated from driving, but even an off day shouldn't have been that bad.
So, in the end I managed to drag myself onto the back of the race and instead of having the confidence to ride at the front I was just happy to be near the front. When the race went balastic in the last mile I managed to stay on until the last climb where the race seperated going into the finish area. My perspective changed a lot in that hour and a half race and suddenly 5th didn't seem so bad considering I wasn't sure I could do 20th early on.
I was already packed and ready to head to Cincinnati after the race finished and since I was somewhat disappointed that I hadn't ridden better I hopped in the car around 6:30 and started driving south towards Ohio. Sunday was the C1 category race there so I wanted to give a shot at some points and maybe have better legs there. I drove almost all the way there and stopped about 1:30am south of Dayton. Luckily the daylight savings ended so I got some extra sleep.
I have been doing the Cincinnati races since they starting 5-6 years ago. Mitch Graham, the promoter, has been great to me over the years. Most memorable trip was when he put me up at his moms for a few nights and she made chili and cookies for me so it has always been fun to get there for the races. I did actually have decent legs despite 900 miles of driving in the two days prior but the course was very soggy with some mud bogs and was just a pure power course with no drafting and no resting. Unfortunately that was probably the worst the conditions I could have hoped for after suffering the day before and the long drive but I still managed to hang onto a 6th there since most of the other racers were tired from racing the two prior days themselves. To be competitive at the front I would have needed great legs here and only having OK legs was not enough against the guys that generally ride in those conditions better than I do to begin with.
The hard part was being back in the car by 6pm and headed back north on I65 but I rolled through Chicago about 10:30, turned my clock back another hour and made it home by 12pm. Yeah, pretty awesome I gained 2 hours on the weekend. Now it's time to rest and recover for Louisville USGP this coming weekend. Another trip with lots of driving but anything less than 8 hours in the car is still easier than flying in my opinion.
8 lanes wide in downtown
Also, it's that time of the year to put up the hardtail mtn bike for sale - if you're interested in an awesome bike check my garage. I'd love to get rid of it locally again so shoot me an email if your interested or know someone who is.