Monday, October 15, 2012

Race Report: Bubba #1 Queeny Park

It's finally time for Bubba CX!  This year we started at Queeny Park.  I raced Queeny two years ago, but missed it last year do to Joules CX. The course used some of the same features as two years ago, but had a good deal of change as well.  It started uphill on pavement before hitting the grass and dropping into single track in the woods.  The single track sections on the entire course were mud.  Peanut butter is the best way to describe it.  After the first single track section, there was a nice grassy climb that led to an open field before you dropped back into the wood.  That drop in was downhill and to the left, tree roots and such as well.  I dabbed going through there on my warm up, but found throughout the race if I stayed high and left I rode it comfortably.  From there we wound around, had a nice big puddle that could be avoided, another 90 degree left in the mud before heading out to the path.  The path wound up the hill, a great climb! Then it went over into the grass hill side.  We went down the hill on a gravel path, 180 and out into the parking lot before hitting a short steep run up, 180 and down hill to the parking lot to a 180 and another run up.  From there we wound up the hillside, going anaerobic, back to the path, cut through the grass and the parking lot back to the finish.  1.54 miles in all.

Off the line headed to the woods.  *Photo Credit: Don McKinney
The weather couldn't make up it's mind.  Sunny one minute, totally overcast the next -- wind was continuous though.  I warmed up around the course and in the parking lot.  I felt really good going to the line.  We had five ladies in the A race and about 10 in the B race.  The whistle blew and Liz took off.  She got a little gap, but Cat was close and Britta was on her wheel.  I was sitting fourth and Teresa was behind me.  We hit the thicker mud and I realized I was geared wrong.  I could barely turn my pedals.  I managed to push through, but lost some ground.  I would need to work to catch back on.  I rode hard and clean, taking better lines than I had in my recon lap.  I hit the pavement climb and headed over to the grass.  My smalls were there cheering and that always gives me energy.  I did the first run up and got a surprise . . . they had added the second since my pre-ride.  Okay, off and up again.  I got back on the bike and began the slow grind up.  I added gear when I hit the pavement and pushed hard.  I got over by the pit and the course tape was broken.  Oh heck!  Which way do I go?  I went right.  I should have gone left.  I kept going, broke the tape twice and got back on the course.  In that I got the tape wrapped around my neck--I've got a pretty sweet abrasion on there from it.  Although I lost some time in that move, I saw Liz was close.  I was able to catch her.  As I pulled along side Liz, I could tell she was unhappy. I told her "then let's hunt Britta down. Come on!"
On the hunt for first *Photo credit: Don McKinney
I adjusted my gearing as I dropped back into the woods.  This time through was much better.  I came out and saw Cat and Britta climbing the hill.  I dug deep and went after them.  I passed them in the open field before we headed back into the woods.  Britta had responded to my attack and was with me.  I focused on riding good lines and staying up right.  She was on me until we hit the run up.  I dismounted at the bottom and took the inside line.  She tried to ride it and got about half way up and was forced to dismount.  Her dismount was awkard and she cut across and tried to run into my line.  I guess I've become a pretty aggressive racer because I'm not giving up my line that easily.  She tried to cut me off and I kept going.  She yelled "What are you doing?"  I said holding my line.  She said you can't run into me.  I responded "I didn't.  You need to learn how to ride your bike."  She got ahead of me on the remount and I took a little too much risk/speed on the downhill before the next run up.  I didn't go down or into the barriers, but I was a bit scared.  I was able to catch her wheel right after the pit and I sat on it until we went into the woods.  We had three laps to go. I saw the line she took in the mud and knew it wasn't good.  Sure enough, she almost went over and had to unclip.  I rode around her and focused and riding smart.

For the next three laps I would gain a gap through the single track and mud and she would close it down in the open sections and hills.  On the final lap I knew I need to get through the single track as quickly as possible because she would be powering through the open sections trying to catch me.  I also kept repeating to myself what Coach Chuck told me . . . the race was in front of me.  I needed to know she was back there, but not let it take my attention off what I had to do.  I got on the bike after the run ups and my legs were yelling at me.  I was worried that if it came to a sprint, I was history.  I didn't think I had the explosive jump left in me.  I reached the top of the grass climb and knew I needed to finish it off.  I revved up my cadence and added a gear, revved it up again and added another.  Push hard now and make a gap so a sprint isn't even an possibility.  I hit the grass by the pit and jumped back out in the parking lot.  I put my head down and added another gear.  I couldn't hear her, and hoped that I had the lead I needed.  The line was in sight . . . yes!!!  Put a notch in the W column.
The big puddle -- Yes, I did ride through it twice :-) *Photo credit:  Mike Dawson
Final lap -- but this was what it looked like most of the race. *Photo credit: Dennis Fickinger 

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