Another tough battle on the mountain bike in the books, this time in Columbia for the Show Me State Games Mid West Fat Tire race.
Last week I spent some time pre-riding this course and thought that it suited me well with it’s not so technical downhill’s, a few leg burning hill climbs and a section of wide open grass land.
17 of us in the sport 30-39 group lined up and off we went. I managed to hit the trees in 5th place with Rock, Zdenek, Mark and JP out in front of me. I was close behind JP for about half a lap as he was quicker than I on the downhill’s but I was able to pass and gap him on the first big climb putting me in 4th.
As I hit the grass lands 3rd place rider Mark was up ahead. I was able to catch and pass before entering the single track again. At this point I was feeling good, riding at a good pace and felt I was racing well. As I came down the last hill where this nasty section of roots made its home, I knew from my pre-ride this section was a bitch for me to clear, my tire hit the root just right, stopped all forward momentum and I went flying over the bars. Now at zero mph laying on the ground I was still clipped in by one foot, my elbow took a nice hit, one water bottle lost, chain fell off and Garmin computer was hanging on by one zip tie.
Needless to say this little incident gave Mark the time to catch and pass pushing me back to 4th place. I got thing back in order, let the Garmin just hand there and off I went. Not far down the trail the Garmin came loose coming to rest somewhere on the trail. I figured that a honest rider would come along, grab it and turn it in.
A few miles into the 2nd lap 40+ rider John, who I have been racing with at the dirt crits, came up on me and we worked together up and over the first set of hills to the creek bottom where he took the lead which helped me move through this section much faster than lap one. As we neared the top of the first big climb I could see Mark again. I lost John on the tricking creek crossing thought the grass lands. He miss shifted and let me pass. Ironically enough I caught Mark and passed him in the exact same spot as I did on lap one putting me back in 3rd place.
I hit the single track with a small gap but eventually John and Mark caught me and we rode together for the remainder of the 2nd lap into the final 3rd.
I thought I would be able to shake Mark up and over the first few hill of the 3rd lap but he never fell off. 2 miles into the 3rd lap I made a bad move, had to unclip and put a foot down. Mark attacked up the hill, I tried to catch back on but did not make up ground and eventually lost line of sight putting back into 4th place. It was a great move on his part just at the right time. At this point I was starting to feel it. The bumpy grind of the race coupled with a steady hard effort, I was now going much slower.
Made it through the big climb, grassy section and then again to the roots where the tumble occurred on the 1st lap. Figured there was no need to hurry thought this section so I dismounted for a run over. Low and behold 5th place rider JP catches me right there and passes. Crap!
Now with a burst of energy I maneuvered the last bit of downhill, hit it hard on the flats leading to the final climb where I regained contact with JP. We exchanged “what race are you in?” where we determined we were both in the 30-39 sport group. First opening I pegged it hard up the hill, passed JP and gave it all I had to the finish line to regain 4th place. Whew, what a race, just over 2 hours of fun!
Soon after I crossed the line I hear my name being called from a fried of John who had my Garmin! He saw it while racing and picked it up. Thanks for being a honest guy, much appreciated.
Today I’m beat up for sure, stiff and sore all over. My next mountain bike will defiantly be a full suspension. The Stump jumper hard tail has been an awesome bike with very few issues over the past 4 years, but I need a little more give on the back end.
Next up, MO State Crit on Sunday followed by 6 days off the bike for a full week of relaxation and recovery.