Being Hyper-Allergic and an Asthmatic, July is a bad month for me. My ailments have long dictated my summer activities, especially racing. Even in the best of times, I usually take July off from racing, sometimes into August. In someways it has a positive, I would try to crush it mtb racing spring thru July, then cut back, building base for the cross season.
Last season and most of this one thus far have been anything but the norm. Colin and moving to Germany has turned riding and racing on its head. But Sandi & I still find time to ride, and even get out for some hard efforts now and then. Sandi has been more and more getting back into racing, while I had a couple early season events with little success.
This weekend we decided to really try to give some gas, and jumped into the SAAR-PfalzCup series finals in Freisen. Having done a little homework on the event, the Flickr photos I came across revealed what looked to be a pretty fun course. And after pre-riding it, it did not disappoint.
Sandi was up first, lining up with some overly-testosterone charged U18 riders who were buzzing photographers and unsuspecting spectators prior to the start. Smartly, Sandi hung back from the NASCAR-esque start that nearly ended ina NASCAR-esque pile up in turn 1. After the dust had settled, Sandi was off the front, and quickly rode away from the competition. Her gap was so big by the end, she lapped most of the field and even did a lap more the second place.
After she received her cobblestone implanted with a chainring on it (she has already won one of these - must be a Euro thing...), it was my turn to go. After warming up I was already experiencing breathing issues, and had to take some Albudteral. I know people think this helps in racing, but it can easily backfire as well, pushing heartrates way up even at rest. I try at all costs not to use my inhaler, but I wasn't going anywhere without it this time.
Second row starting position in a field of over 50, I had the right spot to start out smart, and see where things were. I let the front row go off the gun, and tucked in somewhere around 10th, but after the parade lap, knew I could and needed to move up. Thus far, i have been less than impressed with the handling skills of the riders I have raced against, as was the case on Saturday. The field stacked up on the first ribbon of single track riddle with roots and rocks. I was chomping at the bit to move forward, but waited for the nest section of road. Springing forward through the field, I found my competition for the rest of the race around 4th, 5th and 6th place. The 4th place guy eventually slipped aways forward and the 7th place guy we dropped. So it was the two of us for the rest of the race.
One of the many sections of singletrack around Freisen
Just shy of 3km, this was a cyclocross course for mountain bikes. I was big ringing it for 90% of the course. Shallow double track climbs, with tight techy singletrack, steep drops and climbs, and a sweet strat/finish area jump I was pulling cross-ups off of to the delights of some young spectators. My main competition for the race would pull on the power sections where I held the edge on the techy sections and steeper descents and climbs.
I threw my chances for 5th place with three to go when I rode away from him on one of the power climbs, I figured his tank was empty. Problem was I made an overdraft in the bank of pain and craped something fierce with two-to-go, ouch! He came back around me, and that was it. i consolidated my losses, recovered a little and brought in home in 6th. It was a good race for me knowing where I am riding wise right now, not a result I would expect. Plus I also received a cobblestone trophy - SWEET! Most of all, I had a blast racing and the course was definitely worth it it, tons of fun.
Next up, single speeding at the 12hrs of Sis...