Wednesday, June 25, 2014

State Games of Michigan Recap

I did the first edition of this race a few years ago. I do like riding at Cannonsburg Ski area but racing is a different story. Knowing the course is always helpful, so I did head up the Sunday before the race to get a feel for the terrain again. The bad part was that the race course was different than what I rode....but....I still got an idea of what I was up against.

The worst part of racing at a ski area is that I know there will be climbing. This course starts off right uphill before it throws all different terrain at you. There were 6 sport clydes lined up when the started said "go" and off we went. There was a river running across the course right here so we just plowed through it. Ted (freewheeler on the left) pulled a sweet wheelie to get us started.
Photo credit: Jack H Kunnen
Go...go....go....up the freaking hill we go. I took off like a rocket. 2nd place into the singletrack and the start of the first climb. I felt like I had a bigger lead than the picture below shows, but hey...I will take what I can get. I was in second place to the top of the climb and then the inevitable body gave the big thumbs down. I have talked all year about starting too fast and how I don't like to do it because I always blow myself up. I had not done it this year at all. I did start fast at both Yankee and Custer but I was able to calm myself back down and find a rhythm. Unfortunately that was no the case on this Sunday.

Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen

I thought I was doing okay but I just coudln't get my breathing under control and the other 4 guys in my class passed me. Heart pounding I pressed on and came around my first of three laps. Brian started after me and caught me towards the end of the first lap. Here he is on his fatbike blasting the water crossing heading into his second lap.
Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen

 I had a solid first lap all things considered.....I survived....and was going to attempt to reel the group in. The problem was....right after this picture was taken is that damn climb that about killed me the first lap. The second lap was different....the hill was much slower and I was struggling even more. I was ready to mail it in. I slowed down and focused on my breathing. By now nearly everyone had passed me and I was riding alone.
Photo courtesy of John Oppenhuizen
I came around for my last lap and was determined to have a faster lap time. I had managed to gather my thoughts and when the time came for that climb I was ready. I dropped into my small chain ring and just spun the pedals until I reached the top. Having my breathing under control I was able to ride that last lap faster. Plus, I didn't have anyone passing me so I could concentrate on just riding and having fun instead of worrying about holding people up. I finally manged to hit some semblance of a rhythm and turned in a decent last lap. Best beginners caught me. Worst part.....I did have the slowest finishing time for any Sport class rider. HA. DFL. Hey....I finished a race that I was struggling with. I proved that I am not a fast starter. I proved that I can regain composure and ride faster the longer the race went on. I will take the 6th place finish first top 10 in Sport. Earned.

My team had a great showing too! Lisa took 2nd, Mark 3rd, Brian 4th and Jay with a 12th. Fun day at the ski area....on bikes!!!!

Next up....Sweat Shaker. 20 miles of fun at Mid-Michigan Community College where I have never ridden before. Should be interesting!

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