Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Peak Season #3: Running up that Hill

This weekend marked the third Peak Season race, held in Pinto Lake Park in Watsonville.

The course was pretty awesome. There was an extensive single track section that ended in a marginally-ridable long run up, some fast gravel bits and altogether too much bumpy, grass serpentine.

We had a good turnout, with Joe and Derrick racing the Cs, Murphy and myself racing 35+Bs (and Derrick coming back for another helping in the Bs), Emily racing Women's 35+, and Sam joining in in Women's open B.

Joe heading up

Derrick up the run up

Results were pretty uneven, with Emily in third, a mere 17 seconds out of 2nd, and Sam in 4th in her second women's B race.

Emily raced Masters Women

Sam raced Bs

Joe put in a good effort in his second cross race ever, finishing on the lead lap.

Murphy went out very fast, but was waylaid by a jammed chain, and never really recovered. Despite losing something like 2 minutes fixing his chain, he was still able to claw back into the top half of the field, finishing ninth. He made it a point to ride the big runup every lap, and made it more often than not.

Murphy cresting the top of the big runup.

I actually finished exactly where I did last time, 5th. For the second consecutive race in the series, I hit the finishing stretch barely ahead of Andrew Yee (editor of Cyclocross Magazine) and was able to hold him off in the final sprint.

In fact, the last couple laps of this race were marked by a three-way duel for 5th between Andrew, me, and Mike Hyde, from San Jose. Mike was having trouble in the twisty parts, and realized that his only choice was to use the power of gears to make up ground on the flats and other fast bits. Andrew was also able to gap me when it was fast, but he was also putting time on me in the serpentine sections. My only saving grace was the uphill sections, where I was able to make time on both of them.

Leading Andrew and Mike

On the last lap, Mike disappeared (he told me after the race that he dropped his chain). On one of the uphill parts, I managed to get around Andrew, and then did the best I could to put power down. I was a tad undergeared at 38x17, so really going fast on the downhills and flats was tough, but I managed to enter the final set of serpentines about 10 seconds ahead of Andrew. Unfortunately, with each switchback I could see him, and with each turn he was getting closer and closer.

The finish line was about 20 meters after the final chicane and a small bump. When I hit that bump I could practically feel Andrew breathing down my neck, and I spun madly across the line to finish about a second up.

running over the barriers

I think I am now 5th in the series, with one race remaining. They're a little slow about posting series points, but I am pretty sure I have a dim shot at third, but will most likely end up 4th, 5th or 6th, assuming I have a decent race next weekend. Not bad for racing the single speed against the gearie guys!

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