Friday, October 28, 2011

Finishing strong

I've heard that bicycle racing can be highly mental. I didn't totally understand (and I still probably don't fully) what that meant until the last WORS race of the season, the Wigwam MTB Challenge in Sheboygan, WI.The race course is an amazingly fun ride that features difficult sections of tree roots highlighted by the section called "Roots of All Evil," stream crossings, Sheboygan slickrock and a short steep climb where they pay you 5 bucks at the top if you clear it cleanly on your first attempt called the "Equalizer." It was on the Equalizer that I won the first money ever while riding my mountain bike.
There was also another chance to win some cash by winning the hole shot. However, while on the lead out I dropped my chain to the outside. I had to shift down to the small chainring to get the chain to come back on. I avoided major damage, but at that point a chance of winning the hole shot was gone. I think I was in about 5th-7th place crossing the line at the whole shot, but then passed a few people in the next couple hundred yards to enter the singletrack in 3rd place. I just hung out on the wheel of third place until the leader (who also won the hole shot) slowed terribly up a short hill, perhaps needing a rest from charging out so hard.

And then I was in 2nd place until about a 1/2 mile later when the racer in front of me went into a gravel turn a little too hot and wiped out. And then I was first. At this point I was setting a pretty good pace and decided to just hold it there for the rest of the first lap.

On the second lap I let up a bit, feeling as though I had checked out on the field. However, half way into my second lap two riders came up to challenge me. They passed me and I just grabbed the wheel of the second guy and went along for the ride.

At the Equalizer (which is about 3/4 of mile from the end of a lap), I passed both racers back. If you've been reading my previous posts you would know that stems from my philosophy of not following other riders through technical sections if I can help it. Somewhere shortly after that we dropped one of the challengers and that just left 2 of us.

I upped the pace a bit but still the challenger stayed firmly glued to my rear tire. I wanted to test the guy to see where he was with fatigue. I tried to get him to pass me by slowing a bit at places I thought he would have a great deal of momentum to do so. I also slowed more than usually to get a drink of water thinking he would take the opportunity to pass. Lastly, I tried feigning that I was getting held up by lapped traffic, but in the end he didn't take the bait and just stayed right behind me.

At this point I decided I would just start talking to him (his name is Rennis by the way). We talked about the weather, how awesome of a race it was and what age groups we would be racing in next year when we moved up to Comp. Through all of this I could tell he was breathing harder and harder as we approached the Equalizer for the last time. As we approached the base of the climb, I called out to Rennis, "let's go get it."

I attacked the climb and opened a slight gap going over the slickrock and tried to put a lapped rider between him in I going into the home stretch. As luck would have it we were coming up on a female rider that I knew. I asked her if I could get by on her left and she was more than happy to let me go by. Rennis on the other hand apparently was pushing so hard he couldn't say anything and tried to pass on her left without saying a word. He ended up taking both of them out and I sped off to my 2nd straight victory to the sound of Rennis getting cussed out fading behind me.

So I finished up the year with two 1st place finishes not only in my age group but in the Sport class overall. That makes me feel a lot better about moving up to the Comp class next season. I'd like to thank Airborne for exposing me to the world of 29ers and all the potential these bikes have in a XC riding environment. I was a real skeptic at first, but I've never been this fast on a bike before and I have to give the big wheels a small slice of credit.

Lastly, there has been a lot of video stuff going on as well.

First we have a video called "Dichotomy." To me, it's more of a teaser piece. I think if it as Dichotomy A, with Dichotomy B still yet to come.

I also made a video of the build of my Airborne Wingman jump bike. Before you watch I have to tell you, and I can't emphasize this enough, that the Wingman is NOT available as a frame only. It is only available as a whole bike.

Lastly, I also put together this promotional video for Team Vision/Wheel & Sprocket. Please feel free to share with any business you feel could be a potential sponsor of the teams vision.