Sunday, April 24, 2011


Yesterday I raced in what I think was my 15th Mudslinger Mountain Bike Race. There have been 23 and there were a few years when I wasn't racing mountain bikes. It is not my best race. I am not good on pure climbs and some of the descents are steep and muddy with roots, something I don't have a lot of practice with. So why keep coming back. Well it is because it is the best run race in the state. Mike Rlpley is a professional and his races reflect that. He is low key and always has a kind word for everyone. His races start on time and the results are immediate and usually accurate. I have won at Mudslinger once, and been on the podium various times. So not bad for a race that doesn't suit me.
Yesterday I was third and it was maybe the best race I have done in quite a few years. I had a terrible start. Do to no ones fault but my own I didn't understand how the start was going to work. I got behind a small crash and decided to stay in the back. It turns out we were racing pretty much from the gun and the neutral start I thought was happening was really just a rolling closure. No wonder everyone was going so fast. I was dead last when we hit the first single track. I had to walk a bit because it was so crowded others were walking in front of me. I got on the first climb and decided what the hell I had nothing to loose so I would just beast every climb and push myself harder than I normally would. I caught my first 55+ in about 10 minutes, sweet I wasn't last anymore. I kept going hard and then in one of my favorite sections called the Panama Canal I was flying some of the only mud of the day. I came out to a road and just killed my self on a small climb and then I could see four more 55+ers. They weren't as close as they appeared because road goes up these 20% stair steps. I got the first one, then the second, the third and then the forth. I was really hurting but I knew the climb kept going through a clear cut where one could see for quite a distance and what I wanted them to see was me disappearing up the hill. I never look back so I don't know what my gap was but again I was really pushing myself..
I managed to get to top and then I cleaned a really difficult single track descent. I felt really good about that. I am going to give most of the credit to my Fisher Superfly 29er though. It is amazing through roots and steep slippery trails. I never caught 1st or 2nd and I am not sure I would have even if I had had a great start. Both of those guys are stronger than me on climbs. So I was quite happy with that 3rd place. I really pushed myself and my body reacted well. I did fade a little at the end but not enough to loose any places.
So even though I was unhappy with my bad start it maybe turned out for the best. I tested new waters in going hard and I now have the confidence to try that again. Thanks to Mike Ripley for putting on such a class event and thanks to the racers in my group who always go hard and never make it easy to get on the podium.

No comments: