Mark Junkerman and his RunRideRace.com put on yet another excellent mountain bike race at Camp Hilbert. Oddly, I think the turnout was weaker than the first race in March, but the overnight rain, heat and Fourth of July weekend may have kept people away. They missed out. The course drained beautifully and was in great condition for our noon race.
I rode up with Tripp (above), who threw down an excellent race in the single speeds to come in 3rd. His new program seems to be working for him. It’s been fun hanging out with him recently too. He’s got a great sardonic sense of humor.
This was my first race on the new Trek frame. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the bike or my form, so I started conservatively at the back of an 11-man expert vet field. We big-ringed it into the woods and rolled fast for first three miles. I passed Scott from Arsenal, then Kevin let me by early in the first of four laps. I dropped out of the big ring at the base of the first big climb and spun away. Later in the lap I passed another ex-vet on a climb and kept rolling. I never saw anyone else in front of me save the incredibly courteous enduro riders, who quickly moved aside.
I felt amazing. It might have been the bike, but I feel like my position and the suspension are not yet dialed in. I had a cooler at the finish line with fresh water bottles for each lap, so that helped. The guy behind me kept creeping up on me in the more technical sections, but I’d pull away on every climb. I was afraid he’d catch me, so I rode the last lap somewhat defensively, saving something in case I had to push hard to stay in front of him. I shouldn’t have. I finished in 7th place, my best at this level, only 33 seconds out of 6th and a little more than a minute behind my teammate Jerry. It was easily my strongest mountain bike race ever. Still Crazy Mike put 2:30 into me each lap to win. Not sure I’ll ever get that fast.
The three photos above come from teammate Chad’s Flickr page. Here’s one last cool pic from a pro shooter who was out Sunday.