Written by Michael Green Friday, 01 November 2019 00:00
This year I’ve tried to change my schedule for the fall race season. That includes a little bit more focus on the mountain bike, rather than weekends of cyclocross racing. One of my A goals for the year, like every year, is the Iceman Cometh, which will be a real challenge this year because of change of age groups, so the focus on the mountain bike would be of great need to get the maximum result.
One of the races on the calendar this year is Lord of the Springs, a cross between a gravel and a mountain bike race on back gravel roads and single track. With 40 miles of racing I was excited to test my legs but really treated this like a C race.
I knew nothing about the area, nothing about the single track nor the dirt roads we’ll be racing upon. But the one item I was aware of was that after about 5 miles while on a seasonal road it dumps immediately into singletrack so positioning at 5 miles was a key aspect to the race. I was happy with my start made my way close to the front and perhaps within the first 10-15 just approaching the single track but what I was not aware of was a steep sandy climb on which I lost traction with my front wheel and had to get off my bike and run. I lost a bunch of spots as others rode by me. Eventually, I remounted and rolled into the single track. I tried to make up some positions on the singletrack, burning some matches along the way. Finally, we dumped out of the woods back on gravel and onto a bunch of climbs. These were steep rollers and having already spent some matches and a bit red-lined from the single track I lost contact with the second group on the road. I settled in to recover a bit and tried to catch the group ahead but decided to employ road tactics and sit up and wait for the group behind me.
I stayed with this group which was maybe five strong onto the next section of singletrack and sat at the front trying to separate from others and catch those in front. Sure enough the group in front splintered a little and riders from that group roll back to us The front group was really strong and was quite large, so the pace that they were holding was just too much for us to catch.
I sat with this group and decided that I was one of the strongest and certainly one of those willing to take plenty of pulls at the front. There was some in the group who were not taking their share including another old geezers like me. He had two team members in the group so I was expecting a little bit of gamesmanship at the end of the race.
Thinking that the race was sitting right with me I knew perhaps who I needed to beat and cross the line at the finish. As a non-priority rice for me I wanted to get him plenty of work in for the day, so I was happy to take pulls at the front but as the miles clocked down I decided that it was time for me to really be guarded about those behind and around me. We hit of the finishing paved portion of the race and the finish was at the end of a left sharp turn and up a slight gravelly hill I took the inside line and sprinted across the line in front of the others for a second place in my age (who was in the group ahead) for the old geezers.
I was happy with my effort a little bothered about the second place because I feel that I could’ve won on the day. My fitness was good, my sprint was good and overall I can’t complain. A good day.
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