Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Michaux madness...

Michaux, ah Michaux. Curse of the Dark Hollow. Yup, that's right, another Michaux race. Only this time, it was put on by Jes and company of Gettysburg Bicycle - the guys who know the trails inside and out and how to best torture everyone racing on them. I was racing the 10miler (no beginner, sport, experts categories here - just distances... that are often off by 30% or more and never do they err on the side of too short)... turns out it was more like 13.

This was my first time out on rocky terrain on my new ride, so I figured racing would help me get over my fear of breaking my bike. When they were lining all the women, juniors and masters up together to start, I inched toward the front in order to hit the singletrack in a respectable position. What I didn't count on was getting the hole shot (really, I wasn't even starting that hard!) and gapping all but one or two riders by a couple hundred yards by the time we got to singletrack. Yummy, delightful, downhill singletrack. With some little drop-offs. Awesome good fun. I really enjoyed that section... until I had a little seatpost issue and it changed the angle of my saddle. Okay, no biggie on the downhill - I was off the back for much of it anyway.

At the first uphill, I stopped briefly to fix said seatpost and was passed by one woman and a few of the others then... bummer. Up next was a long section of rideable rocky climbing that I wound up walking parts of. The switchbacks were tough on my not-yet-used-to-turning-radius-of-new-bike self and we were catching groups of riders ahead who had started a few minutes earlier in other categories and were off and walking.

I had a pretty good ride from there until the next time we saw fire road - really fun single track. At one point I saw but did not manage to pass the chick in front of me. Lots of rocks and a bit of walking through them. On a section of singletrack near the reservoir, I heard my seatpost go again, and stopped and fixed it. But I was truly enjoying the ride - the trees were tight enough that I nearly took a swim at one point when I caught handlebars on a tree trunk.

I hit the fireroad again and realized that I was at the 8.5 mile aid station. Kool. Only 4+ miles to go, and I knew much of it must be gaining back the elevation we'd lost on the first descent. Thankfully, it was all on a fireroad, so I left my legs and lungs out there, spinning hard to make up time lost going slow in the tight sections and fixing seats. That was a significant climb for me - about a 11 minute effort. Onto a patch of singletrack under the powerline when I heard the dreaded seatpost noise again. By this time fixing it, my multitool had disintegrated (I knew the bolt was loose on it last week but failed to do anything about it). But I got it working again long enough to make it through the climb onto the next section of flat-ish singletrack.

And again it adjusted itself for me. How long could I make it standing... I was near the end... After a few hundred yards of standing all the way - legs on fire, I stopped and lowered the seat so at least I could relax a bit when I had momentum. I pushed hard to the finish for 2nd. Good thing I pushed, too, because third place was less than a minute behind.

All in all a very fun race. I love the new ride and will definitely race Michaux again. It's hard. Character building. But really really fun.

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