The Sundance ICUP race had another great turnout. Is race attendance up this year, or is just me? While waiting in line with BikeMan Tim, we came up with a theory that since everyone is losing their jobs, they have plenty of time to ride their bikes. Or maybe it's the Lance Armstrong effect. I have since come up with my own theory. Now that Adam is racing again, everyone wants to be able to look back and say, "yeah, I raced against Adam once... back in o' nine. He was in Expert and I was in Sport, but yeah, we lined up together..." Yeah, that's gotta be it.
The pace started fast, as it always does. I had a tough time getting things going off the gun. Normally by the top of the pavement, my HR is already at 180. This time I was in the mid 160s. Not sure if it's due to a mediocre night's sleep, or maybe I just need to work on my warmup routine. After the race, I heard a lot of people comment on the size of our group - that when we started it seemed like half of the staging area took off, and that we almost looked like a grand tour peloton heading up the road. It was fun to be part of such a big and fast group. It made the entire race exciting.
I finally started to wake up on Archies, but progress was difficult. I was 4th wheel in a long line behind a guy with a yellow tag. We all had white tags, and I think the pros had black tags, so maybe he started with the wrong group? Anyway, he wasn't going to yield, so the group in front of us gained some time. If he was on in our group and just had the wrong tag, well, I guess that's just part of racing.
I felt pretty good on the climb to the top. When I crested, I couldn't see anyone behind me. I quickly caught a dude that was just crawling on the DH. This time I was third wheel behind him. We must have asked to pass 10 times, but no dice. By the time we got near the bottom where we finally could pass, everyone I had gapped on the climb was again lined up behind me. It was frustrating to lose that time, but again, I guess that's all part of racing. 1st lap, 35:39.
During the second lap, I didn't feel like I blew up, but my time of 36:52 indicates that I faded quite a bit. I was a little bummed that the guy on the DH passed me on the climb, but stoked to see Adam L. came by. He's made a lot of progress just within the past few weeks. Fortunately, Adam was eventually able to convince the DH guy to let us by during the descent, so not as much time was lost. I caught Chad A. on lap two, and he and I ended up riding the rest of the race together.
The odd thing about the third lap is that I felt like I faded, but it ended up being faster than my 2nd lap with a time of 36:07. Archie's just killed me on the 3rd lap because I didn't have the upper end power for the rollers and rocky/rooty sections. Adam gapped me and I let UMB Mikey go by me (what a concept - letting the faster guy go by on the single track). Chad and I climbed the rest of the way together. He gapped me a bit at the top after he passed a lapper, and I could feel some cramping coming on as I pushed that last section to the top to catch back on. I was barely able to hold his wheel on the way down.
We exited onto the pavement and Mikey was just ahead. I was only able to stay with Chad about 1/3 of the way to the top and he pulled ahead. I came around Mikey and he suddenly woke up. He raised the pace and as I tried to follow, the cramps came back. Mikey was cramping too, but was able to edge me out.
Finish time of 1:48 or so (according to my computer). Shaved over 3 minutes off of last year, and was around 7.5 minutes off of the winning time. I consider this to be an improvement, but the Expert class is improving faster than I am. For example, this year, 6th place had a time of 1:41:48, compared to last year's 2nd place time of 1:41:45. Anyway, I finished 21st out of 34 finishers. I was mainly just happy to keep the rubber side down in light of my recent clumsiness (I hadn't mentioned here that I crashed again on the last Wed. night race).