The first running of the Snake Creek Gap 6 Mountain Time Trial happened this past Saturday. With the weather sunny and in the high 40's/low 50's, a dry trail, and the NWGA Sorba crew working hard, this race could not have gotten any better. Hats off to a wonderful event! If you have February 2 or March 1 free, you need to check this one out!
The biggest excitement occurred not on the course but en route to the start. This is a point-to-point race and the racers ride a school bus to the start. As the bus was coming off the mountain on a two lane, there was a little Subaru just ahead of us that was going WAY TOO SLOW! It forced the driver to use her brakes more than necessary and as a result, the bus lost air pressure. A buzzer went off and then there were no brakes! Thankfully we had a good driver and there was no oncoming traffic. She had to pass this idiot on a blind curve to keep from running the Subaru over. Talk about getting your heartrate up!
I started off feeling sluggish but it was a bit chilly and I did not have an adequate warm-up. My bike also felt a bit funny in the rear and there was this knocking noise when I would hit some rough terrain. I hit the first section of singletrack after a 2 mile fireroad climb and began to feel better. That was short-lived as I was passed by Kristy like I was standing still. She was superstrong. Man, I wish I could ride like that, so early in the season!
The downhills were fast and sweet! I am really beginnning to love the descents. La Ruta definitely helped my confidence and prowess going downhill. My Specialized Captain tires were also hooking up great. Although a bit heavier than the Fast Tracks, they seem to grab better.
I rolled into the midway point and swapped out Camelbaks. My time for the first half was slower than usual, but at least I was feeling better. I set off determined to have a better second half.
I managed to settle into a rhythm and was feeling good. I began passing more people, a lot of those which had passed me in the first half. My climbing legs had finally arrived! However, my bike was "knocking" horribly and beating me to death on the descents. Since it was still rolling in a forward direction, I did not want to get off to check it out.
Arriving at the top of the last major climb, I began to smile. Only 8 miles left and my favorite part: the technical rocky ridges of Hurricane and Dug Mountains. Except for the middle 1/3 of "The Wall" (a steep loamy, rocky, and rooty 150 yard climb) which I walked, I cleaned everything. O.K., I had two toe dabs and one tree grab. But this is the best I have done, especially during the race and when I am in oxygen debt.
During the hike-a-biking of "The Wall," I did stop and look at the rear of my bike. A LOT of oil was running down the shock. I now know what it feels like to ride on a blown shock; probably similar to a mechanical bull.
The last two miles of the race is a curvy paved downhill which is a nice reward to a hard day's ride. I ended up finishing in 3rd place in the money class, only a few minutes down. With proper training and a little good luck perhaps February and March will be even better!