Monday, June 8, 2009

2009 Catawba Riverfront Classic

This weekend, I got to break my new steed in, the Salsa Selma, at the Charlotte National Whitewater Center. Their annual XC mountain bike race was being held, the Catawba Riverfront Classic. Brad Phillips and I made the journey to represent Charleston and the Lowcountry Fat Tire Freaks. It was a great event with a decent turnout. I raced singlespeed division for the first time. It was harder than I thought it would be...First mistake made was surfing in the ocean for about 2.5 hours in rough surf the day before. I drove up to the event still sore from paddling for such an extended period of time. The waves were really fun though and you just don't always get days like this in the Lowcountry. I knew this would affect my performance on raceday, but I really did not know by how much. At the start line there it was hard to concentrate on getting my raceface on with so many COOL singlespeeds all around me...Bianchi, LiteSpeed, another Salsa! It was a sight to see...The announcer counted down 5...3...1..Go! We went from chatty, to dead silent, then into action we sped...wait, not me, I slipped a pedal. I tried again, and could not clip in to my eggbeaters...I laughed, and tried one last time..CLIP, I was in! Unreal, missed clipin off the start, not good...Then, with some explosive BMX-style speed, I cranked through the crowd up into 2nd. Into the singletrack I went holding 2nd strong. I kept thinking all the while, this is some insane speed...I must throttle back soon, but I couldn't with so many riders bearing down on my back! I drafted 1st place and after a mile he made a mistake and crashed into the bushes, just like that I had 1st! I cranked harder than ever, cleaning climbs I had previously been walking and just had total control of the race situation. I started to get far enough ahead that I could no longer hear others behind me. I then started to realize I may have first wrapped up! 5 miles in and still clearly in 1st! While fantasizing about 1st place trophies, I came upon my first obstacle; last place women's expert racer...She was going at a strange moderate pace which had me confused because I suddenly thought I was back in a major endurance race where a slow moderate pace is key. I let off the gas momentarily and started to feel the effects of my body was hurting! I then realized I had to pass this person. I made myself noticed and she finally let me by, but I knew that I had lost a lot of time to my pursuers...I cranked it up again, but felt my lungs burning and my arms were stinging from yesterday's surf session. I reached my cruising speed once again and held it for about half a mile before being overcome by a singlespeeder who had finally caught up with me. He came by breathing hard and simply said..."that was one heck of a strong start!". I said thanks and watched him overtake me and continue cruising along. I kept on his tail and focused on simply working on him until the end where I could possibly sprint finish, but it was too far away to know what would happen next...
We both rode up upon yet another women's expert rider...Same kind of pace, but with a bit more struggle. Still hurting all over from going out so strong, this slowing of pace was comforting, but the guy in front of me was determined to pass her...MY second mistake. I should have also passed that person with no hesitation, but I did not and it cost me. He took off after his pass and I slipped in behind her for a bit longer trying to find my pace. I settled into a pace hoping my other pursuer's would be doing the same, but more more than 1/4 mile further did another singlespeed demon come into view. I then started to panic and realized I had to make my move now. I passed and tried to get away, but a pack of 3 were now on my tail. It seemed the slower expert woman from earlier had made her move and was gunning for the gold. She was also pulling along a singlespeeder in her draft. I was immediately left in 3rd position. I was crushed. I then tried for the remainder of the race to chase these guys down. About 2/3rds of the way in I almost had them, only to lose my legs to poor nutrition since I had not been thinking clearly at all. With this blanket of heat around us, I had forgotten to drink constantly, and it was past time for some more Endurolytes and Heed. My arms started cramping, my legs started twanging like guitar strings. I fed myself and waited for the assimilation process to occur and within a mile, I was somewhat back in action, but with time and distance lost, I had to focus on simply maintaining my position. I rolled in at 1:49minutes for about 19 miles...3rd place. no more no less... Valuable Lessons ReLearned. Fortunately this race was on my training calendar simply for upcoming events like Cowbell Challenge and ORAMM. Time for a light spin to spew all the bad stuff out!

Did I mention Brad Phillips got 2nd in Sport Men? A very strong finish was witnessed. Impressive! Cheers to the State Champion!

My Garmin Edge Recap:

Check out this Garmin Connect activity: 2009 Catawba Riverfront Classic2009 Catawba Riverfront Classic

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