The frenzy of summer is slowly cooling down and with it, I'm finally finding some time and motivation (the latter being more scarce) to write a few updates. My season has been a fickle one, but all in all, I've managed to find some positive points in each of my races and continue to work on my form and fitness. I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Breckenridge and a 24 hour race in here as well, but I'll try to get the low down on those put up separately as they both deserve individual attention.
The Seven Oaks race is always a tough one. I spoke about it in an almost awe like state after racing the beginner race here a scant 2 seasons back. Now I find myself lining up with the big boys in Cat 1 and wonder what the hell I've gotten myself into. I know the course is a tough SOB and has no mercy. On the other hand with this year being wetter than most, we found the course in only partially passable conditions. The course was therefore shortened to the wicked opening climb and then popped out on the upper beginner loop which has most of the fast and flowy sections without many of the steep pitches or hard obstacles.
As with most of my races this year and in years past, my opening salvo off the start has been less than spectacular. I headed into the woods near the back of the expert field with only a couple female riders behind me. We all rolled pretty well into the first section before hitting the one hard switchback on the upper loop. Sure enough, my lack of time riding technical obstacles came around and bit me hard as I failed to negotiate the switchback (in part due to the person in front of me failing it too). I flopped backwards down the trail banging myself hard on the ground and dropping the chain off my bike. After remounting the both, I shot back off the trail like a scalded cat chastising myself for not keeping right side up. The next switchback is one I've never had issue with, but the rider in front of me again spun a tire and slowed me up just enough that I spun and tipped over again. This time I managed to snag a pointy root and tore a large hole in my bibs. I think at this point I was more pissed about the clothing than being on the ground again. I got my bearings back together and slowly rolled back to the tail end of the riders.
Post snag repair:
Trying to focus
The race was a scant 6 laps long with average laps in the 16:45 range for me. It ended up feeling more like a Cat 2 race with the short distance/time and the temps were near perfect. I managed to find my legs near the end of the race, but failing yet another time on the first switchback and a few other bobbles had already left me too far back on the day and unable to real in many people.
I did slow down a bit the last couple laps noting my rear tire felt a bit "squishy". A couple weeks later, I went to change out for some different rubber to use in Colorado and found some souvenirs.
5 total thorns:
I ended up 10th overall and 8th in class with only a few people behind me. I felt good at the end of the race, but left a lot on the table and a lot that needs changed. I knew that I needed to work on my technical skills for sure considering I was cleaning the course on multiple laps last year. I also need a lot of work on wedging myself further up in the start sequence. A couple of my spills were at least in part due to where I placed myself in the opening line up and being behind riders that I shouldn't have been.