2 Part Race Report by Joe King & Muse Davis
Race Report by Joe King:
We had a perfect day for a mountain bike race. The sun was shinning and the trails were dry but not dusty -- if anything they were tacky but there are so so so many rocks it hardly mattered.
There's a You-Tube video from my Go-Pro here, http://youtu.be/6mpG9JSmJD8. Above.
The you-tube gives you the idea of a Le Mans start but what it doesn't show we started running at the bottom of a long hill. Besides being a bit gassed when I got on the bike, I left the bike geared for mounting half way up the hill. The video shows about 10 people going past as I struggle to get the bike out of the small ring.
The first two laps were really hard and I struggled to keep a good pace. After that I went into a bit of decline. Still the other racers are so relaxed and polite and the Kettles are gorgeous. The loop is a bit less than 10 miles and three loops were on the menu today. It's almost all single track with some steep climbs all of which are littered with large round stones. A few of the climbs had loose stuff as well.
I took two falls, the first is on the video where a large round stone in the center of blind corner stopped my forward progress instantly and I fell over. My ankle turned funny and I could not for the life of me get unclipped. I was about to try to take my shoe off when I finally just lifted myself up with aid of a tree. That's my upper-body workout for the year completed - check!
The second crash was similar in that I failed to notice the large, loose round stone in my path. This time I went over the bars and hit my head. I think I'll be wearing a souvenir of this incident on my forehead for about a week.
I was really happy to finish the course still smiling. In fact, this is a really fun place to ride. The rocks make you feel like a punching bag but one loop at a tourist pace would be a gas. There's nothing super technical like the man-made stuff in Lake Geneva. There are flowing sections (still rocky though) and there are plenty of technical bits.
Before the race, Angry Monkeys Racing teammate Muse Davis and I were sitting around talking about doing the 6 hour or 60 mile course. Yea, before getting beat up on this 30ish mile course this seemed like a really good idea. Next time, I think I would skip the 1-loop, 1-hour preview of the course. Notice I said, "next time". These WEMS events really are fun -- I'll be smiling for days.
Race Report by Muse Davis:
The middle-Wisconsin weather was finally perfect this weekend for my first ever MTB race. The temps were between 65 and 72 and the sun was out. I brought my brand new single speed Ritchey P-29er that I had been building up since October—though I had put a few miles in on it on local trails, this would easily be the most I’d ever ridden it. Since I had not owned a mountain bike since early 1994 (no kidding), there was a lot of new technology and geometry to get used to. I had my first suspension fork and the first disc brakes of my life. I have put off learning how to deal with tubeless until I get more used to all the other technological ‘advances.’
Met up with Joey about an hour and a half before the race. We were both doing the 3 hour/30 mile race, so there were plenty of suffering 6- and 12-hour victims to watch in the infield. There was the obligatory LeMans style start, this time requiring maybe 120 yards of running, mostly up a pretty steep gravel road. Joey disappeared into the pack as I plodded along in the back and tried to remember the last time I went running. Once on the bike I was able to get several positions clear of the absolute back end before we headed into the singletrack.
The course was a fantastic 10 mile loop through rolling woods with plenty of large rocks and roots to keep it interesting. Not a lot of flow, at least for a guy still trying to make a 29er corner after nothing but CX bikes offroad for a decade or so. We wound our way around several tight valleys and were really only out of the woods for a couple of times through a power line cutover. After 30 minutes I recognized my unsurprising mistake of going out too hard. Could have used a lower gear for any of the 5 or 6 medium length climbs that kept popping up. Traction was good and the course was dry but not dusty—the best condition it’s ever been in for a series race, I’m told.
I came through the end of the first lap in reasonable condition, but really started hurting after another 4-5 miles. There was the occasional (extremely courteous) pass by the serious 6 and 12 hour folks, which was one part inspiring and two parts demoralizing. I wish I could say I fought on bravely for the duration, but the truth is that about 3 miles from the end of lap 2 I was thoroughly cooked. I crept past the start/finish for the second time and tapped out. I never saw Joey again during the day but I expect he did well.
Big learning curve for my first race. Get the starting pace right. Get a lower gear. Do an internet search of upper body and core strength that road and track people don’t use and maybe try to get some of that. MTB people are super mellow.
And I have to do this again. When I heal.