April 5, 2009
Hornings Hideaway, North Plains Oregon
"In it to win it"
This was the 1st Mountain bike race of the year for me. The weather couldn't be better (70s) and the dirt was about as perfect as can be for an early April race.
I raced single speed as is the norm over the past couple of seasons. I lined up with the group of single speeders and scoped out the competition. I usually recognize most of the guys, but this time it was mostly guys I didn't recognize. Lots of dudes from Bend, Eugene, etc and not much in the way of a Portland showing, which is weird as this is the closest race on the schedule to Portland.
Like last year, the race was a circuit, meaning it had 5 mile laps and we did multiples. This can be a fun way to race because it allows you to try and retry different lines. Kind of like a cross race. The difference, was that the number of laps was fixed. Single speeders only did 3 which for an early seaon race on this course was plenty. We seemed to be either climbing or descending.
Back to the start. The gun went off and the group charged - A couple of guys in a full spring up the hill. I initially had a sinking feeling about being able to keep up right off the bat but I sucked it up and pulled infront of most of the guys. One dude (on a SS flat bar cross bike with carbon wheels no less) and I played a bit of cat and mouse with me catching him and him taking off. His much lighter skinny tired bike had a definate advantage on the long sustained climb, but it was overwhelmed on the technical descents. Mid way into the first lap (on the downhill single track) he went down and I made my move. He sprung up and was on my tail pretty quickly but I definately had the advantage at that point and I pulled away from him at the first water crossing.
Thankfully, I got faster with each lap and started passing the 1/2 geared riders (that started ahead of the single speeders). I also started lapping the riders that started after the SS group.
1 hour 32 minutes after I started I rolled into the finish area, asked the promoter "3 laps, right?" He said yes and tried to get me to do another one... after a bit of convincing he realized that I was indeed finished - 5-6 minutes ahead of the next closest single speeder.
Not bad for an early season race on a bike I haven't ridden since December...