Monday, February 13, 2012

Bushwhack Mountain Bike Challenge

For the past couple of years, I have had no desire to race in any of our local events as the formats were not intriguing to me. Thanks to the Bushwhack Adventure Racing group, that all changed yesterday. The Bushwhack group put on a marathon style race which included a 6 mile singletrack loop followed by a 20 mile fireroad jaunt and finished up with another 6 mile singletrack loop.

This race had an open field meaning that there were no categories. Even though I knew that the geared bike would be the best weapon of choice for this course, there is something that draws me to racing the singlespeed. I don't know why I never feel like racing gears but it has something to do with wanting to win the overall in a race like this on the singlespeed.
Photo Cred:

The race started on a rolling section of pavement for a mile or so. This starting section did not suit my choice of one gear very well. I found myself spun out, gasping for air, legs burning and getting dropped before hitting the singletrack. I managed to get into the singletrack around the 12th position and found myself itching to pass immediately. The pace was slow but the trail was tight which did not present safe passing opportunities. I could see Alex pulling away from the group out front and did not like that sight at all. I was stuck behind traffic and just had this awful helpless feeling. I managed to pick off people here and there until I found myself behind Adam who I knew was favored to win the race. Alex was now out of sight and even though Adam was running a bit slower than I would have liked, I decided to be content riding his wheel until we popped out of the singletrack in 4th and 5th position.

Photo Cred:

Once we hit the fireroad section, it wasn't long before I was spun out and could no longer hang on to Adam's wheel. About 5 miles passed before a paceline of about five came zipping by. I managed to snag a wheel and worked with them for a couple of miles before I fell off. As I entered the rolling/hilly section of the course, I found, passed and dropped the group of five. I knew that I needed to make a move at this point in the race as the section coming up that would lead us back to the singletrack strongly favored gears. I worked hard to gap the guys behind me and it wasn't long before they were out of sight.

As I worked the long flat back to the singletrack, I kept glancing over my shoulder expecting to see a paceline chasing me down but that paceline never appeared. I knew that I didn't need to chase because the leaders had a huge gap on me and being that there was no pressure from behind, I toned down my pace and focused on riding smooth. There is a couple mile section of the course where it was possible to run into lap traffic and that is exactly what I did or should I say they did. I let the rider that was about to be lapped know that I would appreciate the opportunity to pass when he felt that it was safe. He proceed to pull left and as I went right, he nailed a tree. He and his bike came down on top of me and sent me into a tree. After making sure that we were both ok, I hopped on my bike only to find out that my wheel had been tacoed and the tire was rubbing both sides of my fork as it rotated. I had also lost my front brake. The wheel would still roll so I limped it back wondering the entire time if my wheel or carbon fork would fail on me.

Even though the end of my race was quite slow, I managed to cross the finish line without losing any spots. I finished in 6th overall, first singlespeed and 3 minutes behind Adam who had the winning time. This race was just as great as I thought it would be. I really enjoyed the format and the Bushwhack crew along with the volunteers deserve a huge "Thank You" for putting on a wonderful event. You can bet that if they put on any more of these, I will be there.

1 comment:

  1. Well, it is about time! Nice write up Kelly, you did great out there!