Friday, April 25, 2014

ChainBuster 3 Hour at Payne's Creek Race Report

Come Hell or High Water, I've Got This!  Photo Credit:  Mary Omstead

As I drove over to the venue, in the rain, the day before, and listened to it rain the night before, I could say I was not overly ecstatic to be racing this one.  But I had made mental preparations and was ready for whatever Mother Nature was going to dish out.

Rarely are race conditions perfect.  If you wait until it is just "right,"  you are going to miss a lot of challenges and the subsequent rewards.  It is all about adapting.  The ability to persevere through adverse conditions are only going to make you a better racer.  Sure, there are some conditions even I would not race in:  my bail out points are (1) lightning, and (2) temperatures less than 20 degrees for > than 2 hours.  #2 is a medical issue for me, as I have Raynaud's and have come close to losing a toe in the past (2011 Snake Creek Gap TT).

I treat these less than ideal races as practice runs for gear choice.  For me, it is all about what I can do to make the next race better.

Shower cap trick I learned at La Ruta.  Photo credit:  Mary Omstead

For those of us who chose to persevere, we were treated to a rainless start and course conditions that were astounding, given the 1 1/2" of rain the previous 24 hours.  There were some slick spots, but overall, the course was tacky and FAST!  In those muddy sections, I was given the chance to work on my off camber mud skills.

The start was on 1 mile of asphalt leading up from the campground.  As I was riding my Cysco SS, I lost a few spots.  But since it was a low turnout, I only encountered 2 party trains.  The first one I was able to make my way around pretty quickly.  The second one I settled in behind for awhile since they were going at a pretty good click.  

About 1/2 way through the first lap, as a group of us was climbing one of the few short hills on the course, we all heard a loud crash and felt the BOOM! of a tree that fell.  It was very close!  I wondered to myself if it had fallen on the trail.  Sure enough, on my 2nd lap, I encountered a fallen pine about 12 inches in diameter and 30 feet long that lay lengthwise on the trail.  Dang!  That was close!  For the remainder of that lap, any creaking in the treetops above me had what remaining adrenaline there was left being squeezed out of me.

Once again, my titanium steed smoothed out the rooty sections.  I cannot say how much I love the ride of titanium.  And with the Specialized Control tires, I felt very confident going through the slick sections.  I ran fairly consistent laps and was able to finish with 3 in a time of 2:26:20, good enough for 1st female.  

No, Elizabeth did not win a dog.

Unfortunately, the SuperSport Athletic Wear team had a low turnout for this series finale.  Kudos to James for hanging on despite injuring his back.  He managed to take the Terrapin RecreationAle 3 Hour Series win in his age group.  And congrats to Mark Dee for coming in 3rd in his age group.

With a little slicky-slidy racing under my belt, I will be even more prepared for PMBAR, coming up in a little over a week.

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