Monday, July 13, 2009

Downieville Classic

Short version: Mediocre, but no crashes. 58/89 in sport XC 35-44 at approximately 3:06

Long version: After blowing up spectacularly preriding two weeks before, I was hesitant. Fortunately, it was not 95 degrees out this time. As we took off, I realized that when I'd had a flat the last time I rode this bike, I'd just pumped it up enough to limp back to the car. Because I am a moron, I'd not checked the pressure before I started. I bottomed out my back tire a half-dozen times on the climb. Fortunately, I never pinch-flatted. The plus side of that was that I had awesome traction all the way up. I paced myself (perhaps too much) up the climb, but made the top in pretty good shape. Our team-only aid station at the top ran with NASCAR-like efficiency. I got my tire pumped up, a new bottle, and a lube job and was on my way in less than a minute.

As I headed down the first stretch of single track on Sunrise, I heard "hey, did you ride Napa a couple weeks ago?" When I agreed that I had, I heard "I was the guy you were duelling with the entire time." It was Dan, whom I'd beaten by 3 seconds at Skyline. Once we hit the next stretch of fire road, I left him behind.

Most of the way down was uneventful. My too-small bike started to cause my back to crunch up pretty much by the start of the extended downhill section, and the combination of that with riding a hardtail made most of the descent pretty painful. The thing about Downieville, though, is that if you're gonna do it, you've got to commit. So I rode plenty of stuff that without the mental momentum would have had me walking on many rides. I wasn't going that fast, though, being underbiked, and I ended up pulling over a half dozen times to let people go by. I did start to suffer a little cramping here, but oddly enough, it was in my arms, from wrestling with the bars trying to coax my hardtail down the rocks. I also stopped halfway down to drop off a CO2 cartridge to someone who needed one.

I was feeling pretty bad by this point

As I entered the very last section of singletrack, I heard "hey, it's my friend from Napa" behind me. Now, given where we were in the overall scheme of things it wasn't a huge deal, but I think it was still a mistake for him to have said that, because I proceeded to bury myself. The singletrack ends with two shortish climbs and then a quick downhill drop. I only remembered the first climb. I hammered up the first incline, only to turn a corner and see the last uphill section. After spending that much effort getting away from my rival, I was damned if I was gonna let him catch me. I started chanting "Must. Not. Die." as I slowly turned the pedals over working to get up that last hill.

Onto the pavement, finally, and I was feeling a little confident. There were a couple little rises which almost did me in, but I was able to struggle to the finish, beating that guy Dan by a whole 7 seconds this time. I was pretty damn wrecked, though. I lay around for more than an hour, too nauseous to do anything but sip water and hope that my body finally figured out it was done.

1 comment:

Dirty Mike said...

So glad I left for that weekend. I'm still hurting from the last time I climbed downieville xc