This past weekend was the national championship mtn bike marathon nationals in Sun Valley, ID. This is a superb and demanding 20 mile course we complete 2x. I raced here last year, finished 3rd and had a blast, which put it on my short list of target races for 2014.
Preparation for the race this year was moving along smoothly until I got sick 2 weeks ago. Whatever, I was still going to race even if I wasn’t in top condition though I thought I’d be okay.
The race starts harmlessly with a 2.5 mile bike path roll-out that leads to a 15min fire road climb. I settled in nicely and didn’t think I went too deep as we finished the climb and started the 40min singletrack traverse/climb to the top of the course. This is where things started going south. I couldn’t sustain any power on the singletrack. I got passed by a couple guys and felt so poorly that I stopped pedaling and thought about pulling over. Not good. I settled in and tried to gather it in but was only going about half as fast as I should have been. Miraculously nobody else passed me before I started the descent.
I started the descent in about 7th place and felt horrible. I did what I could and made sure to not crash but after the descent and the small climbs within had dropped out of the top 10. I grabbed my bottle at start/finish and latched on to 3 guys on the bike path to see if I could recover. I drank the entire bottle in 5 min and had some food as we started the climb.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but didn’t want to quit so I just focused on the wheel in front. Well, I started feeling better, not sure why but I did. I had another feed coming near the top of the climb and had dropped the guys I followed on the bike path. On the long singletrack climb I passed another guy and tried to maintain power.
I started the final descent in about 9th position but I wasn’t sure. The second time down was much better than the first and I ended up passing 3 guys in my category before the final section of singletrack - I thought I might salvage a podium spot so I kept the gas on. Well, I ended up sixth. My time was 7min slower than last year and somehow rode a faster second lap than first (that’s how bad the first was). I am disappointed but still had a great time.
Thanks to Wilson and Erin for the bike loan.
Next up – Cascade!
E2/3 race report:
The team went out in force to race the NCNCA TT/TTT Championships in Sattley, just north of Truckee. Here are the results:
Brian Choi won the 40-44 individual TT
Dan won the 45-49 individual TT and set a new national record with his time of ~48:28. He broke Kent Bostick’s old record of 49:57 by almost 1:30!
Kevin won the 50-54 individual TT
Kevin, Dan, Jason Walker and Chris Lyman won the TTT – Pro category
Scott Kingston won the TTT – Open 1234 Category (with 2 non FB riders)
Gus and Angie Platis won the Tandem Elite Mixed category
Riders: Dan Bryant, Jason Walker, Chris Lyman and Jason Boynton.
4 stages 3 days scored as am omnium. Dan loves that…
Stage one. Diamond valley course. 5 laps. We figured that we could do pretty well. Hot and a little windy. The race started pretty fast, a few guys tried to get away but nothing could really stick or get a big gap. On lap 3 of 5 we decided to go hard in the little crosswind section. I went to the front just before in the headwind and kept it hard as we entered the crosswind. As luck would have it 4 of us had a pretty good gap and so we pushed it. Walker and a couple other guys bridged up and we picked up Brannon Daly and another and we were 9. Dan was able to bridge up solo and we had 10. Walker, Dan and myself 4 or 5 thirsty bears and a couple of others. It took a while to get coordinate but eventually we got everyone working and built a pretty good gap. On the final lap, dan hit the two climbs hard; softened the field on the first and then blew the field up on the second. He got a small gap with Brennan, I then bridged up to Phil Haynes of TB and walker followed on the downhill. We caught Dan and Brennan and we were 3 on 2. We took turns attacking and Dan finally got away with about 5k and held it for the win. Behind walker and I sat on Phil’s wheel until about 400m to go. Walker attacked first and Brennan followed. I was on his wheel and when Jason slowed I went and ended up 2nd and JW held Brennan off for 3rd. 1-2-3.
Stage two. Awesome circuit race at the beautiful fernley raceway. Tons of fast turns and wide open. Super hot and super windy.
The race was fast and hard. A few early moves couldn’t stay away in the brutal headwind start-finish section. Hans of TB got a little gap about halfway through and after the S-F Brennan bridged up with me on his wheel. We where able to build a minute+ gap and held it to the finish. I was 1 vs 2 and got impatient at the finish thinking we might get caught when we were almost track standing coming to the line and ended up leading Brennan out and he came around me for the win. Behind Walker won the field sprint for 4th and Dan showing that he can sprint go 6th.
Stage three. Diamond valley TT.
Not much to say but 1-2-3 again. Of course Dan won at around 19:30, I was second at 19:55 and Chris showing he recovering from his injuries came in third at 20:00. Walker finished well enough to maintain 3rd overall, but by only 1 point over Brennan and a couple more to Phil.
Stage four. Downtown Minden crit.
Goal was to make sure Walker finished ahead of Brennan. Thirsty bear was super active as was Roemer and Dirk. Chris and I killed ourselves to keep it together and we came to the line in perfect position. Roemer, Walker, Richard Steele, me, and Daly was behind. Walker took the win with Steele second and me third. Dan finished safely but too far back and Walker jumped him for 2nd overall.
When all was said we went 1-2-3 overall: JB, JW, DB with Chris riding like a champ and doing all that was needed to keep the overall as it was.
Next up Cascade.
For me road racing is all about urine management. Especially when it is cooler like in the spring or like at Pescadero. With that in mind, I went to the bathroom three times in the final 20 minutes before the race started. I figured I was good. I was not. I had to pee by the time we got to Stage road and it looked like holding it for four hours was not going to work out. So I stopped on the lower part of the second climb on Stage and did my business. It’s probably a time dilation thing, but it seems like I was stopped for about 5 minutes. But I did my business and got close over the top, latched onto a group of slow pokes on the descent and then onto the main group as we turned onto 84.
Heading towards Haskins Specialized was on the front a lot and Rob Anderson set the pace on the climb. It was very nice. Hard enough to discourage people really hitting it, but comfortable. The pace picked up at the end, but all in all, a nice pace. Unfortunately, they pretty much threw Rob away by doing that as when it did pick up he didn’t have the pop to match it and got dropped.
On the section after the descent leading to Pescadero Chris Lyman got away with Nick Theobald (Safeway). That was good for us and behind only Specialized wanted to chase. On 84 somewhere we got a time split of something like1:45. Craig Roemer did a lot of work leading up to Haskins to keep the speed up. On Haskins itself Cameron Hoffman who is visiting from Utah hit it VERY hard after about a minute of climbing. In short order there weren’t many of us left. I was on his wheel and managing, but knew that I probably wouldn’t make it to the top at that pace. About half way though he slowed down (from about 450 watts for me to about 390). That made it manageable and probably about 8 of us crested together.
Over the top Jeromy lead the descent and I was third wheel. Coming into the first turn Jeromy made it around two guys from another race but the rest of us didn’t. It wasn’t a huge gap, but we weren’t with him. He pushed it hard and by the bottom had caught Chris and Nick, but by then we were only about 10 seconds behind and our group came back together. Jesse suggested that we “get ahead of this” as Specialized was probably content to let it come to a drag race up Haskins for Jeromy. Jesse and I took turns making or covering attacks until he got away with Kyle Glerum of Safeway. From there it got kind of embarrassing. We rode so damn slow to Stage road! That’s one thing because nobody wants to tow the field around, but then on the climbs we still rode slow. On the last lap! The funny thing was that Jeromy brought the group to within 5 seconds of them at one point and sat up thinking that somebody would finish it. That was as close as we got until after the finish. Jeromy regretted that choice for sure!
Onto 84 the Mikes Bikes guys started a pretty good chase while we sat on. Back to Haskins the gap was still at or a bit over a minute. The pace was fast from the bottom and Cameron hit it again. I was boxed in, but got clear and made a short bridge up to him. At about 600 meters I counter attacked but Jeromy, a Mikes guy and Cameron Birky followed and then countered me. As that happened I looked up and saw that we were about to catch Kyle. Ahead of him was a small group from another field and then I looked ahead of them and saw Jesse! I kind of freaked, afraid that my counter brought them into striking range of Jesse and kind of eased off and got gapped. As it worked out Jesse still had about 10 seconds at the top followed by the Mikes guy, Cameron Birky, Jeromy and myself. I caught Kyle with about 200 to go. I may have been able to stick with those three guys without my little panic attack, but probably still would have finished in the same place. Maybe 4th at best.
It was nice to feel like I had some go on the climbs when it got hard. I’ve been purely on defense in recent races so that was a relief.
Now Jesse is in full Lake Placid mode so we won’t be seeing him at the races for a while. That’s too bad because he is a really good guy to race with.
I have been slacking on writing this race report all week from the Lost and Found 100 Mile Gravel Adventure Race ( http://lostandfoundbikeride.com/ held a week ago and fortunately Cyclocross Magazine published a little profile of me and bike on their website today thus taking care of nearly all of my race report writing obligations! The interview and profile can be as the top story on their site at the moment here: http://www.cxmagazine.com/ron-shevock-felt-f1x-gravel-singlespeed-lost-and-found
In addition to that, I can not recommend the Lost and Found race enough. I believe myself and AJ and Jason Snovel were the only Folsom Bike’ers to do this and we all had a great time. This was the first year it was held, but it was a wild success. It was well run and organized. It’s been receiving a lot of publicity. And I haven’t heard a single participant mention that they weren’t planning on doing it again next year. The folks who put this on, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS), has a long history of putting on races with the Downieville Classic MTB Race, and they took that experience and successfully transitioned it to the “gravel grinder” format.
100 miles and 7,000 vert of beautiful remote countryside with 5 well stocked aid stations. You can race it, or you can just ride it and use the event as an excuse to just “get out there”. I’ve been chatted with the SBTS this week after the race and they’ve already applied for the permit for the race again for next year on the same weekend in May (weekend after Memorial Day weekend), so mark your calendars.
Lastly, I want to thank AJ for “pulling” me along on several long flat sections while I was spun out on my singlespeed. I had just spent a bunch of time on a long flat road in no-man’s land after the lead group got away from me and AJ came up with a few others (Tobin Ortenblad from Cal Giant & Percy Brennan from Chico) and we all rolled together for a quite a long time. Then Tobin got an unfortunate flat in the middle of the 10 mile climb around mile 75 or so and AJ stopped to help him fix it. So props to you AJ for helping both of us out!