Winter Park has had one of my favorite course for years, Mountain Circuit One, that for the past four or five years has been held on the Idlewald ski hill in WP. It was a true euro-style course full of mud, roots & rocks, very technical. But evidently too much so as according to the Epicsingletrack.com website, "due to feeddback from riders surveys...moving to a less difficult circuit."
Sandi & I still gladly made the three-and-some hour drive to Winter Park, knowing ther riding there never disappoints. Having raced on Thursday in our town series, I opted to keep my wallet a little plumper and not do the hillclimb while Sandi would go for the weekend double doing the hillclimb on staurday and the Mountain Circuit One (new and improved) on sunday. After getting Sandi sent off on her way with a good sized womens pro field, my task was to recon the new course.
It turned out to be an old course from way back when, featuring to fast singletrack downhills on Lower Cherokee and Little Vasquez trails, both with fast bermed turns, lots of rock and water bars. Little Vasquez even had a stream crossing at the bottom. There were two fire road climbs, and lots of short steep climbs, and undualting track double track strewn with rocks and roots around the rest of the 6 mile circuit. We would be doing 3 1/2 laps for a total of 22 miles and 1400' of climbing per lap. During my recon, I started to have stomach pains, at first I thought my gut was disagreeing with my energy drink, but that would not be the case.
Sandi & I met back at the car, she of course was rightfully stoked on her 2nd place ride right behind Anne Trombly. Back at the hotel room my condition worseoned. By now it felt like someone had stabbed me in the gut, and was twisting the knife around inside. After a quick trip to Safeway, I ended up skipping dinner, and drank half a bottle of pepto. was in the midst of a relapse from my spring bought with Hepatitis A.
The next morning, alothough the pain was gone, I had flu like symptoms, that included some wicked muscle pains and chilled feeling. I was not going to race. After checking in at reg w/ Sandi, and seeing some friends who were racing, my anger and disappointment ook over, and found myself suiting up to race. During my warmup, I felt like crap, pondering if this was a good descision w/ the Canada World Cup coming up in less than a week. Colin pumped me up at the starting line, and with in a minute or two, found myself chasing the first attack up the first climb.
The two of us were just off the front as we hit the first downhill, then I felt a splash of water on my leg, on a very dry descent, my waterbottle had taken flight. I heard "your going to need that." as I ran back up the hill to retrieve my bottle, coughing up at least :45 to the field. Back on the bike, I reintregrated the field about mid-pack, and was hungup behind to slow descending expert riders, who I quickly disposed of on the next climb. It took me to the half-way point in the first lap before I had the lead again, and just put my head down to ride through my rusty body pains.
I knew where I was all of the time in the race, but at the same did not. Just riding, my focus was getting through my aches, and trying to enjoy the race course, a mix that proved to work as I crossed the line over 5 mins ahead of 2nd. Sandi would also have a stellar day, having a good race as the 2nd place girl pushed her the whole time, but never quite got close enough to Sandi to stop her her from taking her second win on the season. Sandi was beeming over her new steel IF, FOX 80x, how well her XTR was working and her new Hutchinson tires. She loves the bike.
Absent from this race were John "Rocco" Caligno and Tim Faia. I have not seen Rocco all season which is unusual since he is a regular on the MTB scene, and Tim was to have built up a new single speed, I have been looking forward to seeing him out at one of these races.
We leave on wednesday for Mount Sainte Anne, and I will be racing in the Masters World Cup on Friday, with Sandi starting the Womens World Cup on Sunday. Maybe will will get in the Euro-style racing yet...
Enjoy the Ride!