Monday, April 04, 2011

Kicking Off the 2011 Mountain Bike Season...

I kicked off my 2011 mountain bike season with the 3-hour marathon at the Swanson River City Shootout. It was technically the second race of the Psycowpath series, but it was the first race hosting a marathon class.  And the racers showed up in force.  We had the largest class of the day (barely beating out the cat 2 men), with 27 men and two women taking to the dirt.

Jim Winklepleck is just out of the picture, off the front as we get ready to head into the singletrack on the first lap. Look at my shiny new Giant Anthem X 29-1!  Thanks Cycle Works!!  Photo: Heather Wolff
The race started off fast, with "The Man in Black", Jim Winklepleck, taking off from the line like he was shot from a gun.  I entered the singletrack on Jim's wheel in second place and we comfortably rode at a nice, high tempo for the first lap.  Thanks to Jim's strong riding, we'd forged perhaps a 10 second lead on the rest of the pack after a lap and a half of riding, but I could sense it was time to make a move, so I went to the front and put the power down.  Lucas Marshall was moving up through the field behind us and I knew without a doubt he was my strongest competition on the day.  If I could keep him chasing me, I hoped he'd tire from the effort.

My plan came close to working had it not been for a mouth full of PowerBar Gel Bites.  On lap seven (of eight), I ravenously tore into a pack of gel bites, unfortunately a little too fast and dropped the entire package, so I had to get an entirely new one (my last one), which took me a long time to do.  And when I finally got into the second package, I put the whole thing into my mouth so I didn't have to do it twice.  So I had basically had a big mouth full of gummy bears...  And that's when Lucas caught me -- as I was trying to chew 10 gummies simultaneously, and breathe at the same time while my heart was beating @175BPM.  Yeah... not good. 
Back up-to-speed after my feed debacle... No, I wasn't too happy at this point. Photo: Heather Wolff

So by the time I got all that crap inhaled (thankfully not into my lungs), I was able to get back up to full-speed, but the bummer was by that point, Lucas was at least a minute ahead of me, and we were so evenly matched that I couldn't make it up.  I could ride his speed, but no faster.  It was cool though.  We had a good race.  He earned it, and I know it's just the first of many great races to-come.

I'd like to thank Cycle Works and the Moose's Tooth for their support this season.  My new Giant Anthem X-29 1 worked incredibly well out at Swanson.  You might not think a course like Swanson is rough enough to warrant full suspension, but a quick check of both O-rings on my Giant reveals I was using every millimeter of the suspension travel.  And I enjoyed the benefit of the bike's 100mm of travel on each of the eight laps I completed during the three hour enduro.  Thanks again Team Rasta!!



Guitar Ted said...

Hey there! Nice write up, MG. Way to get after it. 2nd isn't all bad, and you'll get that next place this year, I know it.

Lookin' forward to seein' ya soon!

MG said...

Thanks Mark... You know, it's funny. On one hand, it's easy to be a little disappointed at not being able to 'finish it off'. But on the other hand, it's really hard to be disappointed at all with second place either, because I'm really fortunate simply to still be able to be doing this after all these years! It's just fun to be up there competing for the win in the late stages of a tough race. I love that stuff...

Thanks again, my friend. I can't wait to see you later this month. We're gonna have a great T.I.

Chad Q said...

WTG MG!!! Have you always done the Enduro class??

MG said...

Thanks Chad -- Yeah, I've typically done the enduro, as I was one of the guys that originally lobbied pretty hard to get the class added 4-5 years ago.

It's funny though, because I don't really consider a 3-hour race an "enduro" race. It's more like a "long xc" race to me. A 6-hour race is more of a proper enduro race, but perhaps I'm stuck splitting hairs. I'll be going down to the Bone Bender in Kansas in a couple weeks and seeing how I fare in their 6-hour. Hopefully I'll do a little better. Maybe I'll eat a little crow... Who knows? We'll find out soon.

Thanks again, my friend. Hope we get a chance to ride together soon.


Chad Q said...

Good luck in the 6 hr man!! I just cant seem to get excited about the standard XC races. I like the idea of the enduro type though. Thinkin' that would be the ticket for me to be interested.I will soon be requesting that some select people take a little ride with me it will be an interesting little trek. As soon as it is ready we will work out a free weekend to hit it !!

MG said...

Thanks Chad,

Yeah, that was the point I kinda got to a few years back... Where I needed something 'different' to keep me coming to races. The same old 1.5 hr xc races weren't doing it for me. I'm really thankful to even have the 3-hour series we have here in NE. It isn't perfect, bit it's better than nothing, for sure.

Looking forward to hearing what you have up your sleeve!


RD said...

The problem is... we don't have 7-9 miles loops if we did 6/12 would be manageable but doing like 24 laps over 4 mile loop is kind of mind killing... That's what's awesome about dk/ti/worlds you never see the same thing twice in a day

M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MG said...

I agree with you 100 percent, Rafal. It's one of those things we're sort of stuck with... When we get a couple courses with 8-9 mile loops, we'll be able to better accommodate the longer duration races. You're right... 12 laps or more of a 4-5 mile course just isn't the answer either.

Thanks for your thoughts & perspective, my brother.

JJ said...

Hey how about a little recognition to the guy who is actually centered up on picture instead of the guy who isn't even there?

MG said...

Hey Jeff,

Sorry I didn't give you a shout out. It was more about my frame of mind, and I was racing forward, not back. That was just one photo from the start of the race that illustrated what was going on.

Look forward to lining up again with you soon. Nice racing at Swanson.


CJ said...

MG....can you send me an email.

chris.vejnovich at gmaildotcom

MG said...

Hey Chris... sending you a note now.

kona_lm said...

yeah , thats still pretty good.

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MG said...

Thanks Connor..

kona_lm said...

Yeah I agree

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