Sunday, August 28, 2011

Capitol 100

Wow, that was a humbling experience. I have a new respect for endurance mountain bike racing after competing in the Capitol Forest 100 mile race yesterday.

My long time friend, Gian Dalle, and I had made plans to ride most of the race together. Unfortunately, that plan only lasted about 5 minutes into the race when I clipped my pedal on a rock and twisted my chain. My only option to stay in the race was to turn around and ride back to the start and hope I could find someone with a spare chain. Very fortunately, a race-support mechanic from The Bike Stand in Olympia drove up and offered me a chain. I am so grateful to have had my bike fixed and been able to get back in the race. Nothing would have sucked more than only being able to race the first mile of a 100 mile mtb race!

Once rolling again, I started to have a lot of fun cruising through the different sections of trail. Capitol Forest has some seriously fun singletrack! The race promotors and Friends of Capitol Forest did an amazing job of clearing the 42 miles of singletrack (Imagine how long it would take to even walk that far, not to mention clearing brush!). About ten miles in, I started to catch some other racers and for the rest of the first 50 mile lap I slowly worked my way through the field of riders. It was really encouraging having so many people in front of me to chase down. The second 50 mile lap was a different story...

I had now moved all the way back up to third place and I was still feeling good, but definitely a bit lonely out there. It wasn't until the one and only fire-road section of the race, an 8 mile climb up Capitol Peak, that the mileage really started to catch up with me. I was beginning to have stomach problems, felt like I was going to puke, and my body was hurting in places that had never hurt before. It was a relief to finally make it to the last aid station, where I sucked down a couple of caffeinated clif shots. Those helped big time, and I found enough energy to push over the final climb and down to the finish. Speaking of feed zones, they rocked! There were nine feed stops, in total, and each time that I stopped I was overwhelmed by helpful and friendly volunteers offering me whatever I needed.

I rolled across the line in second place, about twenty minutes behind Gian. Going straight to my car, I sat on the grass for a while and tried to eat. That was a seriously hard race in a way that I am not used to. I guess the pain is a big reason why racing is so satisfying though, right? Sounds like Gian had a pretty easy race. He waited for me for a while, not knowing how long I had been delayed. I think it would have been a close battle between us, but I have a feeling he may have been a little stronger. It's been a long season of racing for me and I'm ready to take a break and then maybe ride and run around in the mud (for shits and giggles).

9 hours and 13,000 feet of climbing. Ouch.

This event, like the Stottlemeyer 60 miler back in May, was a ton of fun. I think it's really great that there is a new mtb race series in Washington, especially an endurance series. I think a lot of people are more interested in these longer "marathon" style events as opposed to the "olympic format" multi-lap races. Roger, head of the NW Epic Series, is even planning to add more races to the calendar next year. I'm excited to see what the future brings.

Pimped my ride!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Capitol Forest Classic

The Friends of Capitol Forest put on an awesome event last weekend; the Capitol Forest Classic. Saturday's cross country course was a blast, with 100% singletrack and an epic feel. Greggs co-worker/friend Gian (John) Dalle, Loren Hanson, and I rode a lot of the race together, enjoying the fun trails. I attacked on the long downhill about halfway through the race and held on for the win. Gian and Loren finished strong for 2nd and 3rd respectively. Noble teammate, Aaron Mickels had a great ride for 4th place on the new Noble F5. After the race, lots of free Fish Tale local beer and food was consumed. There was even a tequila bar with free shots!

Sunday's Super-D (D for downhill) was a ton of fun. Gian and I decided to ride over 2000 vertical feet up to the start of the course. Long story short, we ended up getting lost and had to burry ourselves up a fireroad climb in an attempt to make our start times. Gian missed his by a couple minutes and I made mine with less than two minutes to catch my breath. All things considered, it was probably the perfect warmup for the race. I had a mostly clean run, with only one memorable mistake. I was later surprised to find out that I had set the fastest time of the day, ahead of some fast downhill racers. Gian was forced to wait on top of the mountain for an hour until he could take a later start time. Unfortunately, he broke his chain mid-run and had to pump extra hard. I bet he would have given me a good run for my money, had his chain not broken.

All-Mountain king and queen.

As the winner of the XC and Super-D, I was also the winner of the "All-Mountain Championship." Gian finished 2nd and Aaron 3rd. FOCF pimped the women's All-Mountain winner and me both out with some goods. The "King" cowbell will be perfect for cyclocross season!