Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pain is weakness leaving the body...

The 2006 Mt. Tabor series began with an exciting start as the fixed gear field kicked the competition off. The Mt. Tabor race series is a Portland institution that goes back over 50 years. It is one of the best and most popular weekly series in the state. It consists of a 1.3 mile technical, hilly, rollercoaster like loop around the upper reservoir of Mt. Tabor Park in SE Portland.

USGS map of Mt. Tabor Park

This park is actually an extinct volcanic cinder cone, a small mountain in the city. Miles of trails and roadways wind through the tall trees and well-maintained landscape. The top of the park (where I proposed to my wife btw) rewards the biker/hiker/etc with breathtaking views of downtown and the West Hills from one side, Mount Hood and the outer Eastside from the other.

I left work at 5:15 and rode the 5 miles from downtown Portland to Mt Tabor arriving at around 5:45 (traffic). The ride there makes a good warmup for the race as most of the way there is uphill.

The course starts & finishes on a straight away that is mid way up the uphill portion of the course.

Just after the start of the race: The pact riding up the first hill

With a bang the fixed gear riders were off. A contingent of about 5-6 riders (including myself) sprinted off the front to get the first climb out of the way before hitting the long downhill with speeds of about 34MPH (really fast on a fixie). At the bottom of the hill the course takes a sharp right hand turn and the riders are 'treated' to about a 1/4 mile straight away that cruises between 2 of the reservoirs before starting the climb back up to the completion of the first lap. At this point I was hanging on to the lead group at about 6th place. The front 2 riders did a breakway and were not seen from again. The next 3 riders followed suite. I tried to hang on and bridge the gap as much as I could. I managed to close the gap in the 3rd lap. Unfortunately my 42 x 17 gearing wasn't enough to keep up on the downhill and straight away and I could not maintain my speed. I ended the 4th & final lap in the 6th place I had maintained the whole race. Not as spectacular as the 2nd and 3rd place finishes last season, however I'm not particularly upset as the field was larger and alot more competitive.

Trying to close the gap

As always, the race was a hoot, but hard as hell (I can't wait until the next 0ne). Unfortunately, I'll be missing next week, but fired up and ready to roll the following.

The start of the final lap... all alone on the climb

No comments: