Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mitch Karno Race Report, Pine Flat

Chicken Ranchers,
While the rest of the team was at Valley of the Sun, Dan Rudd and I headed up to exotic Fresno for the Pine Flat RR. For the first time in recent history it wasn't cold and rainy up there. Hooray! The day started off around a brisk 40 degrees, but it quickly warmed up once the sun rose and it was really a beautiful day for racing. Dan rode in the 45+ 4/5 race and I did the 35+ 4/5 race. Each field had about 35 riders.

In Dan's race a sizeable group stayed together almost to the bottom of the steep climb around the 54 mile point. Dan was just off the back of the final select group with a few other riders. He ended up doing a lot of work pulling at the front of a small group in the downhill/flat sections between the 2 climbs. Being unfamiliar with the course (this was Dan's 1st time doing Pine Flat), he arrived at the bottom of the final climb not realizing the hill was coming right then and he needed some time to recover. By the time he recovered on the hill, 2 guys passed him and crossed the line in front of him. Dan had a great 8th place finish. Evidently he still had a bunch in the tank at the finish, but had just mistimed his effort right before the finishing hill. Way to go, Dan!

In my race there were a lot of attacks all along, a few which got pretty far ahead but were eventually reeled in. The pace was quick much of the way, except for a time during the flat section in the valley. As we headed back into the hills there was a big acceleration and a group of 12 of us pulled away from the rest of the field. After a few minutes I looked back and the rest of the field was nowhere to be seen. I couldn't sustain that pace and soon resigned myself to ride as hard as I could maintain at my own tempo. I summited the steep climb with no one else around and went into TT mode on the descent and flat section after that. I passed one guy about a mile before the last climb and came close to another guy as I approached the finish. Then the guy I had passed minutes before passed me on the climb. Try as I might, I couldn't catch him or the guy just in front of us. I finished 10th and, in contrast to Dan, I had nothing left in the tank.
All in all it was a great trip.

See ya on the road,

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