Monday, July 7, 2008

Deer Valley National

So last week I made the (loooong) drive out to Park City, UT for the NMBS race @ Deer Valley. Was able to preride the course on Thurs and Friday and have to say it was probably the best multi-lap course I’ve ever done. Started out with a 7-8 minute climb up an access road turning to single track followed by about 10 minutes of sweet downhill and sidehill single track through Aspen trees. Super smooth, perfect buffed out singletrack. After that another 10 minute or so climb up singletrack followed by another 10 minutes of single track down hill. Out of the 7.1 mi loop, about 5+ miles were singletrack. And oh yeah, it started at over 8k’ and went up to 11k’ so the air was a little thin.

Sat. morning 8 am start brought 60 degree temps and smaller fields than the other nationals I’ve done in Fontana and SY this year. Only 10 guys in my Expert 35-39 group. Gun went off and the usual chaos ensued. One guy took off and had about 100 yards on the field about 200 yards into the race (straight uphill). I figured he was gone or would blow spectacularly. The rest of the field was fairly bunched up. I was in about 6th but only 20 seconds or so from the 2nd place guy. Stayed that way until about ¾ through the first lap when a very large, giant actually, bee flew into my helmet and wouldn’t come out. I had to stop quickly and get it out and was passed by three guys putting me in 9th. I was feeling ok but stayed in that position through the first part of the 2nd lap before passing a few guys at the end of the first climb. Things were still bunched up and was hoping to just maintain and put in a good effort on the final lap. That worked and at the start of the 3rd lap I put in a good effort on the first climb and was able to move up to about 5th. I then saw the 4th place guy and picked him just before the end of the first climb. I was stoked as this would have been my best result by far in a national this year. I then started to see the 3rd place guy about 40 seconds ahead. I seemed to be gaining on him on the downhill and he really started coming back on the second climb. Just before the top of the final climb I was on his wheel and made the pass into 3rd. Bombed the dh and suffered severely up the couple of small inclines before the finish to hold on for 3rd. Ended up about 1:40 behind the 2nd place guy and 5 minutes behind the guy who had blasted off at the start. Later found out he was from CA and took second at Firestone this year, ahead of Chuck Ross (who has won every other race this year) so it wasn’t a surprise that he ran away with it.

Great race and a good weekend. Got in some other rides on the road and mtb and they were all epic. High alpine, great time of year with everything green and perfect weather.

On a related note, my friends neighbor is on the mtb board of trustees for USA Cycling. She informed me that they were doing away with Semi-Pro next year and the categories will be Pro, 1, 2, and 3 with the option for promoters to add a first timer category for larger races. Meaning that this will certainly be the last year I have a shot of any podium appearances sine Semi-Pro and Expert will be effectively combined next year.

Happy 4th and hope everyone is out of the way of the fire!


No comments: