Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dirty 30 XXC Race Report

The Cysco machine was ready, but was I?

Having felt some fitness gains during the Skyway Epic, I decided I needed to get back on my single speed and test my legs.  With Marathon Nationals only 3 weeks away, I needed at least one race on my Cysco SS before the Big One.

There were five of us fine ladies that rolled up to the start of the Mountain Goat Adventures cross country plus race at Blankets in Canton, Georgia.  This course has great flow and is a single speeder's paradise. Being a noon time start, it was going to be hot.  I chose to wear my CamelBak as there are not too many good spots to drink from a bottle while mashing one gear.

The start was as fast as I could spin a 32 x 20 around the parking lot. I, along with Naomi, hopped in behind the expert men.  Naomi took the lead and I followed along spinning the cranks as fast as I could on Mosquito Flats.  I was happy when the climb up VMT started, as I thought I was going to "throw a rod" carrying a cadence of 120+.  Soon I closed the gap down on Naomi and then fought to hang onto her wheel. My legs had not completely opened up yet.  I was hoping she wasn't going to kick it into next gear, as I would not be able to follow.

VMT was over before I knew it and we were on the flat section heading towards Dwelling.  My legs were coming around.  I could now enjoy the furious pace being put down by Naomi.  So smooth and consistent, it was fun following her!  We began working our way around a few racers, but were also having to let by a few from the wave that started behind us.  Everyone played nice.

Beginning the climb up to the South Loop, a tree grabbed Naomi's bar and threw her down promptly. I stopped and made sure she was o.k. She laughed it off, hopped back on her bike, and we were off once again, frolicking through the woods as two little kids would with a care free attitude.  I think this trail is the most technical. It has a few rock gardens that you have to pick your way through. But where I had an "Oh, sh!t!" moment was on the baby head littered chicane style descent.  Those rocks wanted my front wheel. It was a wrestling match all ... the ... way ... down!

On the second twitchy descent, Naomi went down, a victim of those little bastards.  She was fine, but this time, I came around her.  I picked up the pace slightly, expecting to hear her come bearing down on me anytime.  That never happened and when I hit Mosquito Flats, I ramped up the cadence, trying to put some time between her and I ... or, at the very least, not let her make up any on me during this flat as a pancake section of trail.

On the second lap, I focused on being smooth, resting on the descents, maintaining momentum, and giving it all I had on the climbs.  On a couple of the super steep sections where there was a technical aspect, I just did not have the torque to get up it.  So I had to channel my inner cyclocross racer.  I was beginning to feel the heat as well, but knowing Naomi was lurking somewhere behind me, I had to stay on the gas.  After she blew by me on the Noontootla climb during Southern Cross (like I was standing still), I knew I would not be safe until I crossed the finish line.

The South Loop seemed to have grown in length on this second lap. But once I was on the final climb, I was smelling the barn.  Soon enough I popped out onto the last half mile of flat and spun like a cartoon character all the way to the finish.

Shorts failure! 😒

Crossing the line in 2:40:02.  My lap times were pretty consistent, too. 1:19:46 and 1:20:16, repectively.  Happy with that, as I had felt much slower on the second lap.  Looking back at last year's time, I was only 40 seconds slower today.  So I do believe that I am climbing out of whatever funk I had going on earlier this year.  Which is a good thing, since my "A" race is just around the corner!

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