Saturday, May 24, 2014

Yankee Springs Recap

The day started off fairly normal. Got Zack and Izzy up and while they were eating breakfast I loaded up the Crosstrek and was ready to go before they were done eating. Off we went and we got to Yankee just after 10am. Our teammate Mark and his family were camping so we parked at their site and set up shop.  We headed up to register and saw Dan S. talking with Jay and Mark. This is where the day took a strange turn.

Jay was holding my Epic for me. He picked it up and it rattled. The rear shock is worn where it connects to the upper link. Looking at it..Dan says..yeah you are not riding that today. I was what do I ride...and he said "ride this" which is a Giant Trance 29er with carbon wheels and a 1x11 setup. This is the bike I want....and he handed it to me for the day.

I headed out on the warmup loop to get antiquated with the new bike. It handled different, but I was fairly comfortable by the time I got done with the 2 miles. So, I had a bike to ride and we were in business.

Headed to the starting corral and got into line. They were sending riders off every 5 seconds. Got to me and GO!!!

Photo courtesy: Dan S. (the best shop owner ever!!)

As usual, I started to fast. This bike just wanted to go fast. Before I started Dan told me "listen, ride the bike..don't worry about breaking anything....just don't hurt yourself". He gave me permission to ride the bike like I stole it. lol. I did. I was riding hard because I wanted to get a top 10 (out of the 20 pre-registered). The bike certainly helped. It is lighter than my Epic (because of the carbon wheels) and it climbed quicker. I am not sure about the setup, but I was very comfortable on it. I felt like I was more forward than I am on the Epic so I was in more of a race position.

I held off the guys that started behind me for about a mile. Then I knew I was going to have traffic issues for the rest of the race, but it wasn't bad. Everyone called out their passes and I even had to call out a few of my own. I was riding really really fast. Just kept pushing myself to get done.....and knowing it was a time trail I was looking for the other sport clydes that started just ahead of me. 

About 5 miles in I caught one. That is when I knew I was riding pretty good. I jumped into a train and held onto a wheel for quite a while until we hit a long climb. A few guys passed and I went back to my own pace. The Trance is a great bike. I was able to climb quicker and descent like a mad man because the bike just loves to roll over stuff. Yes, this is my first real experience on a 29er. I did ride a Niner at the demo last year, but I was just cruising.......I was racing the Trance and the harder I pushed the better the bike responded.

Jay had not caught me yet. I made the turn to the mat climb and as I started to climb I shifted to the left and off the mat, meaning I had to walk. Dangit. I was pushing up the hill when Jay finally caught me along with a few other guys. I jumped back on the bike and started to chase them down. Grabbed onto the last guys wheel and actually kept Jay in sight for part of the new 1.5 mile section of trail they added in. I was closing the gap on him but then hit the last nasty hump and never saw him again. 

I passed the 12 mile marker and knew I had one mile to go. I looked at my computer and I was barely over an hour into the race. I couldn't believe it....I was around 1:03 and I only had one mile to go. So, I did my best to turn myself inside out to finish...and I burned another match to get into the last climb. It is fairly flat, but I was gassed so it felt worse. Out of the woods into the gravel area and then made the left hand turn onto the finishing stretch by the road. BURN IT. I burned my last match and was just flying into the last turn where all the spectators are standing. around the corner and hammered to the finish line. DONE.

1:08:06 was good enough for 10th place out of 17. I will take it. I turned in my fastest lap by about 4 minutes on a course that was 1.5 miles longer. Awesome. Zack had a rough day but still mustered 5th place in his class. It was a great day to race and hang out with friends!!!  I did beat Brian so I lead the series 2/3 as of this moment. We will see how that pans out!!!!!

P.S. I really really want the new bike now.

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