Sunday, January 27, 2008

1st Race of 2008

After a week of rain and the beginning of my rebuilding starting to take place, I decided to do a XC race. As much as I wanted to suffer through the 12 hours of Temecula, the dire forecast for the week and my current level of fitness had me choose the XC race instead. It has been since November that I last raced and I was missing it very much!
Friday the forecast stated that this large storm would not hit until the late afternoon so I figured that the race would be dry. After arriving it was great to see many of all my old friends from last year! There was a few of my competitors that had obviously raced cross all winter and were ready to race! Even though I am still over 200 lbs. I decided to race my age group in the sport division. I know that this is the choice that will make me a faster, more competitive racer. As I lined up with 7 other guys in my class, I knew this was not going to be easy. As much as I love to be challenged...I also love to win! I won almost all of my XC races last year and I am not that accustomed to losing! It was a new scary feeling to line up next to guys that were close to half my body size! The start was great and I hung with the pack until the bottom of the paved road climb.(I was racing at the Southridge Winter Series) Then 3 of the little guys took off like a Japanese Bullet Train. I decided that I was going to just race my race and see where I would end up. There was 1 guy that I HAD to beat though.
When I raced my first race ever a little more than a year ago I remember the start line vividly. We had a group of about 9 guys in the beginner Clydesdale's class. There is this one cat that had a $7500 Epic S-Works, a full team kit, and was talking a great game. I thought that this guy was just going to take off and leave us all in the dust! Not the case! I think that I smoked him by ten minutes in that first race! It was the same in all the races last year. Just not the fastest dude. Well at the November race a couple of months ago, homeboy showed up and had dropped about 50-60 pounds! That was the race that I (tried) to race expert. So as I was finishing lap 2 of 3 at that race, I noticed he was trying to beat me to the line. He told me later that he really wanted to race again because he wanted to beat me! I told him that I would see him this year!
Back to this race...
After the three leaders took off there were four of us in a group and one other that dropped off into oblivion. This course has a lot of climbing and that is where I was having some issues! Carrying my extra weight up the mountain was tough. Every time we would hit a sustained climb a couple guys would pass me including Steve.(the one I was talking about above) I figured out pretty quickly that I could descend and hammer the flats way quicker than all of these guys in the group. With that realization I decided to stand up and quick sprint at the last part of any climb to try to pass those who passed me. Being caught behind a slower descender on tight singletrack downhills would keep me from pulling away. Other than putting me in the pain locker, this was working for me. At the end of lap one I thought that I had put a good gap on Steve. Then at the top of the paved climb I saw him coming up the hill. I was able to keep a little distance until we hit hurl hill on the backside of the course. I popped! I popped and he rode past me midway up the hill. I was surprised that I actually caught sight of him at the bottom of the hill. I kept him in view up the switchback climb and then made another mistake. There is a little rocky technical section at the end of the climb that slays even the best of riders, and I decided to jump off and run through it. About halfway through the 20 feet, both of my legs cramped above the knee! If I was going to be pedaling this wouldn't have been that big of a deal but I was at the section that is like a roller coaster track! This requires use of those muscles! The next 2 minutes was spent in agony! I pedaled as much as possible and worked it out! I pulled up behind Steve and planted on his wheel. An expert on his third lap had also caught up and when we dropped the drainage ditch he passed me. And wouldn't you guess, it was a teammate of Steve. All of a sudden Steve grabbed his draft and put 300 yards on me! I couldn't believe it! I thought that this was it. I was crushed. I did not have much left but put it all on the line and spun it out. There was a small climb and a run up hill left along with a descent. I thought if I could catch him before the run-up I might have a chance. I bombed the downhill like Steve Peat and caught sight once again! About 150 yards from the run-up I caught his wheel! He started to up-shift and I had an idea! I left my bike in the big ring and jumped off at the base of the hill. He jumped off at the same time and I yelled at him," Come on man, let's do this!) We both hit the top at the same time but as I jumped on my bike I hammered off towards the finish and he jumped on and had to shift to a better gear! I ended up beating him by 45 seconds!
I wish that the fight was for first but never the less it was a great fight! When I finished I couldn't breathe! I love at the end of a race when I can look back and say...I gave it my all! I ended up in fifth place..just at the bottom of the podium! That's me on the left in the black shirt. I won't even say how much faster first place was! I just know that i have my work cut out!
With my new job I will not get to race most of the Southridge Series but my training seems to be back on track and I have a great test coming up in three weeks. February 16th is the marathon mountain bike race in Santa Ynez. 50 miles. If I can stay on track with my training and really get my diet back in line...I will be ready!
Congratulations to Mary Collier for her 2nd place in the 12 hours of Temecula. Todd Carpenter also placed 4th in the Pro men's field! Siren had a great day at the races! I believe that they will all be at their first 24 Hour race of the season when I am in Santa Ynez.

***I know that this has been a long post but I have one more thing I would like to tell everyone. One of our dogs, Bean, woke up with an infection in his gums this morning. It has the right side of his face all swollen. We went out to see Jane from BARK Rescue from whom we adopted Bean 2 years ago. She had some tooth work done on Bean when we first adopted him so we went to see if she could direct us to the same vet. Little Bean will have his tooth removed this Thursday so please keep him in your thoughts. This is a picture of him...

So we met her at the pet store where she was holding her regular Sunday adoptions. I have purposefully stayed away from these adoptions as this is the whole reason that we have FOUR chihuahuas! We walked into the store and it took only a fraction of a second for my wife to latch onto a scared precious little pup! Laying curled up with 4 other dogs was a young, beautiful, very scared chihuahua/italian greyhound. We stood and held this amazing guy for about an hour. If we had a house and not an apartment I would be telling you that we had brought him home. I just don't find it fair for our other pups to bring another into our place! It was very hard to walk away because this little guy took to us very well. I can tell you that my wife REALLY wanted to take him home! So I bring this all up because I would love to help find this amazing guy a home. If anyone is looking for a small dog please let me know and I will give you any information that you like. I warn you now...if you meet this will all be over! He is amazing!

Keep Climbing,


Discover... Experience said...

Congrats! Sounded like a sweet race. Can't believe you could even get up in the mtns with all that crazy weather you guys have been havin in Cali. Good thing you weren't snowed in. Mom sent us a pic of snow on the ground at El Capitan beach from last week... weird...

Love reading your stories Luke. Also enjoy the pics. The kids like that the best.

Keep postin champ!

Mary Collier said...

Nice Job! I especially liked the part where you "bombed the downhill like Steve Peat". Temecula ended up being pretty good weather, but sounds like you had more fun at Southridge!

Good luck to Bean! What a cutie - stay away from those pet stores!