Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Doubling UP

It was a good opportunity to not race this weekend...I ended up on 2 start lines.  How could I pass up on a chance to head back up to the UP??  Something about racing up there just makes you feel good.  Its like the old days of racing....The other day my dad called me up and reminded me it has been 19 years since my very first race:  The Garland Hammer!  I finished 11th place in the Beginner 18 & under category.  Dad was 4th 35-44(I'm almost in that age group now)!

Garland Hammer Sept 6th 1993

Why I love racing in the UP.  It was 55 and raining when we got to the start line Friday night.  We were almost the only ones in the parking lot.  We wanted to pre-ride.  The course wasn't marked at all.  We pedaled around in the rain for 30 minutes...on the start of the short race course instead of the finish of the long course....oops.  We picked up our race numbers at the warming shed of the ski trails and then the smell hit me....homemade soup after a cold rainy bike ride in the fall....you can't beat it.  Two types of soup,  fresh homemade wood-fired bread, and it was free!  The soup was delicious and it was on par w/ some of the best soup I have ever had.  It made the trip to the UP totally worth it...

testing the new Bontrager CXC clothing in the rain!

The race was in Munising another plus.  A place we have never been.  They have a pretty awesome lake shore w/ tons of waterfalls and rock formations.
Oscor does Munising Falls
Picture Rocks - Miners Castle

The race itself was tough.  A super easy course that allowed for lots of drafting broken up by two 10-15 minute sections of singletrack in the middle.  I jammed the 2nd section of singletrack after a little adrenalin rush from a mid race crash.  I opened up some daylight, but when the singletrack ended on a 1 mile stretch of pancake flat railroad bed there was no way I was holding off the other 3 riders with 10 miles to go.

The last puddle with 50 meters to go...

It came down to a 4 man sprint.  It was probably the most hectic sprint I have been in....huge puddles easily taller than your front wheel on loamy ground with one line.  Cole hit the first puddle after all 4 of us almost went down.  I'm pretty sure the tidal wave almost took me out and the water covered his top tube.  I thought I was good with 50 meters to go when I was forced through the last puddle on the right again after all 4 of us almost crashed.  Its tough to win a sprint when your front wheel is under water with 50m to go....Mike Anderson took the win after hitting the right line through the water.  I was 3rd.

The Rock Garden @ Amy Dykema
I was a little dissapointed so I had to go do it again on Sunday.  This time I felt much better and got the W!  I was aggresive right from the start and lead up the first 2 steep climbs.  Cole blasted by on the 3rd and the lead group of 5 was formed.  Mike P was the first to go starting lap 2.  Mid way through Lap 2 Cole was gone after Shriver started pushing the pace.  Nathan G led for the first few minutes of Lap 3 until he crashed and then it was down to me and Shriver.  I pushed the pace a little starting the final lap, got a gap, and never looked back.  It felt good to wrap up my 4th overall WORS title with a WIN.

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