Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Santa Ynez Valley National Mountain Bike Race

Well another Firestone (or SYVNMBS) in the books. First off, let me just say how glad I was to be racing at 8 am after pre-riding the course on Friday from 1-2:30 pm. Ouch.

Showed up around 7, got my usual 15 minute warm up in and then stood at the starting line for another 10-15 minutes. My legs had been feeling good and I’d been riding well and was really hoping to crack the top 5 this time around. I was feeling even better about that when I didn’t see Todd at the starting line. Already moved up one place before the race even started! I did notice a number of guys who I’d never seen before who looked pretty fast. Gun went off and people took off at the usual smoking pace. I settled in about mid pack, 10th or so. Kept this position for a while then moved up a couple of spots about half way through the first lap. I could see a good sized group of about 5-7 guys from my category about 25 seconds ahead of me going into the second to last climb. Held this steady through that climb then started the second to last down hill on the far end of the course. Right near the bottom there was a dip that was fairly rutted, not very narrow ruts but I managed to go from one to the other while kind of turning my handlebar a bit and partially rolled my tire. Went from about 28 lbs of pressure to 20 or less. I was thinking I would be fine if I could just get up the last hill, down and through the start/finish then to Ramirez who was feeding Matt and I. All I could think of was adding air in the shade (it was probably high 90’s by now and I was a little warm). I was pretty bummed as I had ridden pretty under control and I knew guys were going to start blowing. I (barely) survived through the start/finish where Matt caught up to me. We rode up the little start hill together and he dropping in first to the dh with the berm at the bottom. Good thing because if I’d been in front I would have taken us both out. My tire rolled again and I went straight over the berm into a pile. Got up took out my co2, struggled mightily to get it to function (amazing what o2 debt and 100 degree temps will do to your mind). Finally did and got the tire back to normal. I was pretty bummed by this time and was sitting probably in 15th or so. Decided to keep plugging away, got new bottles from Ramirez, handed him my 5 lb multitool I forgot to remove from my bike before the race and was off for lap two. 10 minutes later I found I had jinxed Matt as he was walking down the first dh with a totally blown front tire. Bummer ‘cause he was on way to at least a top 3 finish and was riding well. I started to feel better as the lap went on and passed a ton of guys. I knew I was going well when I caught up with Ron Takeda, who had passed me earlier, and went flying by him. I kept telling myself that I was going to catch guys that were blowing. I ended up passing quite a few guys including a number from my group in the last two miles, finished strong in 9thand felt good about my race despite the tire issue.

That night as I was lying in bed it kind of hit me how stupid it was to keep riding and not fix my tire right away. I could have lost 45 seconds instead of 2-5 minutes from all the super slow riding I was forced to do with the flat tire over the last couple of miles. Douh!!

Headed back over on Sunday to watch Jackson and my brother race. They both had great races with Jackson actually beating half of the kids he started with and riding really strong taking 3rd in the 12 and under category. My brother, Seth, had his best race since the early 1990’s when he used to beat me and finished 5th in Sport 30-34. Nice job to all the other CR’s out there on Sunday, especially iron man Mike Abbott who raced every event that was available to him!

See you all soon.


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