Written by Andrew Farrell Thursday, 12 July 2018 17:47
This was my first stab at racing Gnar Weasels, and my first time racing the amazing Ascutney trail system aside from the VT 50. Anyone who has ridden here knows the quality of the trails, so I was excited to rip around their network with some high output racing. For those not familiar with the terrain, Ascutney Mountain is a ski resort with a fairly extensive trail network which, predictably, either ascends, descends, or traverses the ski hill. Plenty of climbing, moderately technical, with a good mix of purpose built modern trail and some older New England style singletrack.
Weather was nothing short of ideal. High 70's, moderate breeze, minimal humidity. Last years event was a wet, humid mess which I was happy to avoid, so this year was a treat.
Unfortunately, my training through the month of June has been spotty at best, so I went into the race with realistic expectations. Running through the usual pre-race mantras of "race your race" and all that other stuff, I prepared myself for and felt comfortable with a middle of the pack kinda day. What then possessed me to go out hard at the start and assume the 2nd place position I have no idea. As I looked around after the first left hand turn, I began to wonder. Is this my day? Could this be real? All I have to do is hold these guys off for another hour and 40 minutes. Visions of podiums danced in my head, the champagne, the swag, the heart rate to 178, lungs and legs screaming by the 5 minute mark. This was not in the plan, and that quickly began to show. One by one I dropped further and further back. Totally smoked.
I spent the rest of that first lap doing damage control. Trying to recover without losing too much ground. With my fitness tested right out of the gate the wheels began to come off in other ways. On the first technical descent I was over-gripped so hard that when I went down in a loose corner my glove was ripped off my hand. That was a first.
Laps 2 and 3 improved, but the damage was done. Finishing 17/24 was a good reminder to stick to the plan. Nevertheless, the racing at Gnar Weasels and Ascutney is awesome and I will definitely be back next year to reclaim 2nd place.
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