Sunday, May 11, 2008
MO NORBA @ Castlewood
A little bit closer to fast. My first podium in a Missouri NORBA series open class event. Feels pretty good to come within :59 seconds of Chris.
What a great day at Castlewood! Biggest racer turnout I have seen at these races, ton's of spectators on the course and a very positive atmosphere. Top notch event, as good as it gets! Thanks to Bob and the DRJ crew, Dave Ploch and Bill Howard for making it run so smooth! Also, a very special thanks to Team Seagal for bringing the party! Nico, where's my hat!
I was pretty amped up for this race. Jen was coming to see me race for the first time this year so I had to bring my A game so I wouldn't look like a chump. I've been waiting for the day where I could feel like I was competitive with the top tier here on the home turf. With our new open class format (no age grouping or separating the Pro/Semi/Expert riders) it makes for some very competitive racing, so cracking into a money spot isn't easy and a podium spot is usually reserved in advance.
I can't remember the last time I didn't have to sit on the line while my legs got cold waiting for the race to start, yesterday it happened. We lined up, called off and they said go. It was great, especially since there is was a major climb 200 yards into the race. I got the hole shot and put it down. The legs didn't lock up as bad as they have been and I was pretty focused. Mike Best came around me at the top of the climb and gapped me a little bit and surprisingly, we had a gap on the rest of the field. As we started the descent I realized that my brakes were working at about 50%. New pads in the front and lube on the back... I was pretty sketchy going and having to shut down completely going through the switchbacks and power out of them... Usually I would rail them. Mike got away a bit and a group was coming from behind me until I heard some carnage taking place...
When I hit the bottom Mike had a gap on me going into the Love climb but we had a pretty decent 20-30 second gap on Chris who was working his way up from behind. I caught Mike about 3/4 the way up Love and should have attacked before we hit the Roller Coaster but hesitated and saved a match or two... Chris was still a little ways behind us. About a mile into Roller Coaster Chris caught us and Mike was bogging down a little so I attacked knowing Chris would follow but not wanting him to get around me before the descent... We started flossing the Roller Coaster and flying down Grotpeter when we came up on Ralph who was racing endurance. There was really nowhere to pass so we just sat back a little and rested the legs. When we went around Ralph we started flying down the bottom of Grotpeter and Chris was yelling about how much fun he was having as I rooster tailed him the whole way. Coming through the start finish was a blast with people lining the course, bells ringing and people running along side us. There was no one in sight behind us at this point.
Chris gapped me a little at the top of the climb on lap two and the yo yo-ing began. I was feeling good and the race was really going by fast. I would catch glimpses of him in front of me and by the time I would come around the next turn he was out of sight. When I hit the Lone Wolf climb at the start of the third lap he was only 150 meters ahead, but that was very deceiving and it was really about 45 seconds.
I had to be realistic and ride smart. If I crushed it too much I would risk flatting or crashing and loosing ground to whoever was behind me so I made a big effort on the Love climb as he dangled in front of me and closed a little bit of the gap... He responded and opened it back up.
I don't remember seeing him at the start of the first lap but knew that I was pretty much racing against the clock at this point, so I rode smart up the climb and down the other side and then started to push. I was feeling the effort but truthfully, it was kind of easy. You might say well if it was easy then you weren't going hard enough but that's not what I mean. I just mean that with the level of fitness I have now racing is starting to feel like it should and what is a monster effort one week is not quite as big the next. I concentrated on pushing the big meat and a gear or two bigger in the back through the Roller Coaster and powered the climbs, leaving it all on the trail... I killed the lowers of Grotpeter and then got in the TT tuck through the bottoms and into the field...
... :59 seconds behind Chris. I'm glad I pushed; seconds sound like much less of a margin than minutes. Eddie from Team Seagal handed me a icy cold PBR and it was good. The story telling began.
The MESA team continues to bring it. 3 podium spots in some very competitive fields. Keeven destroyed the SS class with fast expert lap times and DrewBy smoked a huge sport field. We aren't 18 years old but we are fast!