Posting this for STP (the SPAM filter didn't like one sentence in the 4th paragraph)
My SO and I went up there yesterday. Got up at an ungodly hour on Sunday morning to make her beginner class start time and give her time to warm up and not be rushed. It's Deb's first xc race and after warming up, she's lining up with the women's super master 30 plus. There's six other women there to compete against and most of them are considerably younger than Deb (who's 50).
Most of the women got a jump on her at the start, but Deb just hung back and checked out the competition to see who was the real competition. Within a mile, she had it figured out and and on the first long climb after crossing the road, she was third. The rest of the race for her, was duking it out for second place. She traded the position back and forth. We pre-rode the course Thursday, and Deb knew it well enough, especially the downhill, which she's pretty good on. But Sunday, in the heat of battle, she took that all-important step and adopted a no fear attitude on the downhill. She tossed away any inhibition and just slammed the singletrack! Deb ended up with second place, missing first place to a woman 20 years her junior, by less than a minute. She also beat all the women's times for age 29 and under by a good amount. I am proud of her!
I lined up with at least fifteen guys in the men's 40 to 49 class, which at 48, I'm definitely at the high end, age-wise. We laughed and shot the breeze as the other classes left in front of us. Then it was our turn. I was lined up next to Jim Scarry up front and when we took off, I had trouble clipping in and was running sixth out of the first turn. I kept up and just watched the competition moving just ahead and then got in behind them. When it widened out a 1/2 mile later, I made my move, taking along another rider behind me. We hit the first long climb and it was just the two of us, as we gapped the field. I looked over and it was the same guy I raced for a podium spot last year, Jim P. on a cyclocross bike. I couldn't believe it. I only got 2nd last year, because he flatted towards the finish.
We went toe-to-toe on the whole first lap and crossed the start line for the second lap, side by side. As we got started on the second lap, we had some backfill dork from the field in front of us, playing aggressive games. He'd jump on it and ramp it hard in front of us on some of the tight sections, I yelled at him, that this was for the class lead. We finally dropped him good and kept going at our contest. We hit the hard little climbs before the long highway ST downhill. When I had to dismount for one of those steep beyatches, he got by me and then put a good gap on me. I still flogged on.
My competition was out of sight as I careened down the highway ST. Letting at all go, I was putting metal to the pedal. At the bottom of the ST, the pearl harbor fireroad climb was coming up and believe it or not, there was my competition, changing a flat on his cyclocross bike! I rode by and said not again!. He was standing there with the backwheel in his hand, the tire off and a tube in the other hand. I didn't have much time. He'd have it changed in maybe a minute or so. This was it.
I friggin hauled! I had no choice. My calves cursed me. We got on the fireroad descent and I grabbed big ring, going at it for all I was worth. The finish line wasn't even two miles away, as I worked the singletrack for every inch of speed I could squeeze out of it. Crossed the paved road with less than a half mile and I was cooked, but I couldn't ease up. No idea of where my foe might be, so I had to work it hard till the end. I ended up crossing the line thirty seconds ahead of my competition and got first place. I was sweating and soaked, but highly stoked!
After being dead last at Fontana last weekend, this was redemption! My spons, Rich Bartlett took first in expert and Tony, my teammate in beginner class took the win in one of the 30 something categories, his first race. So the block team did really well and we're looking forward to more fun and action. I'd like to extend a hearty thanks to Rich for his support and keeping the five year old razorpig running well.
It was also great seeing Papo and all my buds!
Posted by FFW a 48 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a MPB from Palmdale on 03/22/07