Saturday, June 11, 2011

2011 Woolly MTB Race

This Morning we headed up north to beautiful Saint Croix Falls, WI for the Annual Woolly race. Very grass roots, no licenses, no timing chips, just line up and get prepare to get cross eyed.
I wills ay that I am way to nice when it comes to pushing toward the front when getting lined up in the chutes. when I got to the line, there were already 50 people in the chute. I ended up slipping up about 4 rows to get past the ladies, but I was still not where I needed to be. The race started out around a soccer complex to string things out. I got a pretty crappy start, and was not toward the front once we hit the singletrack. I was like 20th and the pace was conversational in the singletrack. Which was super tight so trying to pass would have been lame and in poor taste.

Had to dismount a few times as there were bobbles up ahead that stopped the lunch line.
It was here that I started to formulate my plan. I had ridden with a few of the folks ahead of me so I knew that I could put some serious time into them in the single track on the 2nd half of the course. The leaders were well out of sight. After biding my time, once we popped out of the woods, the guys at the front were not accelerating, and looked around like they were lost. They looked like they needed leadership.

I went right to the big ring and passed like 10 people on the grass, and did my very best to motor away (leadership is overrated). And it looked like I had a good gap until I went down someones driveway that paralleled the paved path we were supposed to use. Piss. Managed to sneak back over but the gap was gone. Hit the open meadow trails, with a Culvers racer on my wheel. These meadow sections just slayed me all day. They appeared open and fast, but were just so bumpy that it was all but impossible to lay down any power while you were seated.
Once I hit the singletrack I was able to put some time between me and the chasers. The Woolly boys opened up some new terrain since last weekend, and it really kept me on my toes. I actually ended up running a few of the new tech sections that I normally would have ridden, but was a little too cross eyed from chasing. The best way to burn in new trail is to have a race on it, so it should be pretty buffed out after all the traffic it got.
Little by little I got away from the Culvers rider (I love their frozen custard!), but there was no one in sight ahead of me, so I just motored on. The last 2 miles of each lap was either grass double track or rail trail. It just screamed to be ridden in 44:12. It was here that I first saw a pair of riders that had at least a quarter mile on me. It took me another lap of chasing to catch the rider in the Specialized kit JB Hancock. The other racer was no where in sight, so I motioned for him to jump on. I pulled for the next 2 miles of open, and then he came around right before the start finish line starting our last lap.

I got a little big for my britches at the end of that second lap/long pull, and I could feel my legs getting crampy. I wanted to try and get away, but I did not think that I could sustain a break that far from the finish. So we traded pulls and conversation for most of the last lap.
Just before we hit the wide open double track to the finish line I offered to pull to the finish line. Now this is not a deal that normally gets struck, but my reasoning was that I had not seen any big power moves out of him all day so at least if he tried to jump towards the end I would have a little bit of a buffer. My sprinting sucks, and most of the time if I get ahead its not because of a huge spurt in speed. I don't sprint, I surge.
We kept it gentlemanly until we hit the asphalt, then it was all out. I actually over shifted about 30 yards from the line, and Bryan just about nipped me at the line. But I was able to get on top of the gear enough to squeak ahead for an 8th place finish.

Super fun course, not too much gnar, was a good race for beginners. You should be there next year.


John said...

Why do you look like your mama slapped you and you don't know why when you race?

Joshua Stamper said...

I do usually look like I am about to start crying mid race. (sobbing) I get so emotional!