Monday, May 5, 2008

Ok. I am getting to it. %^)

On Sunday, Paul Varnum and I headed to the Ingawanis mountain race just outside of Waverly. We got there almost two hours early so we had time to ride a lap before the race got started. I loved the trail. It was the perfect difficulty for me as it wasn't overly technical, it had great flow and I could really keep moving. There were only a couple of climbs that really worked you over so it wasn't bad. Much easier than Seven Oaks in my opinion.

Anyway, there were sixty plus riders so that was good. There was almost always someone out in front or behind you that you could see once in a while so that was fun.

I decided to ride single speed and it was obvious after the race that I have a long ways to go in the strength department before I can compete in a cross country race on a single speed. I ended up getting 8th out of 9 riders and the guy I beat has won several races so I guess it was tough competition. At least it felt that way to me. Now I know to enter into my age group as they don't automatically give out age group awards like running races do. Being my first xc race I have a lot to learn that is for sure. I felt like I had the right gear for the course at 32 X 18. I would have died with 32 X 16. I wonder now though if I would have been faster with 32 X 20. I know I would have been faster with my new rims and 8 more gears. Next time.

Here is how it played out. I started very close to the back of the pack which was a mistake. I think this cost me at least a minute. In small town Iowa running races I love to start in the back and pick people off. I just love doing that. This doesn't work in a cross country race. We had a 1/4 of a mile climb up a gravel road and I was probably about 30th place, but I am guessing. Right way I passed a couple of riders that must not have ridden much single track as they couldn't make the first switch back turn. This would suck as I am sure everyone and their grandma tried to pass them before they were able to get back on their bikes! Within another 100 yards or so I passed another guy and then I joined into a group of four riders or so. The guys in front of me now were long gone, other than the four, and we were losing the group behind us. During this first lap I passed the four people ahead of me. It wasn't until I was about a quarter of the way into the 2nd of the 3 laps that I caught up to the next couple of riders. I got by them and then continued on my way. I then caught another group of four riders. About 2/3 of the way through the 2nd lap I passed fellow MOBster Chris Hansen. I continued on my way keeping Chris behind me. Chris was running 32 X 16 which would be a pretty tall gear on a 29er for most folks. I know I walked a few hills on my 32 X 18. The third lap sucked. I was tired and I started hearing people coming up on me like I was standing still. Luckily, they were in the expert class so I didn't feel so bad! In the end, I didn't get passed by anyone, except for the starting gravel hill so I am very happy with that. I was able to make up some good ground throughout the race. Now, I just need to start off faster so that I am not trapped in a slow bottle neck. This makes me very excited for the next race!

I can't wait to get out there and ride at Ingawanis again! Thanks to Jeremy Bidwell and Casey Dean for a great race! I can't wait to do it all again!

As for a Wednesday ride this week. We are going to have to watch the weather. I will plan on being at Peterson Pits beach at 6:00, but again, if it is rainy then we will not ride the single track. If it has rained, but isn't at night we can always go on a gravel grinder. Leave a comment if you are interested.

Say hi to my brother Mark here.


Carney said...

Nice work! I may have to join you on Wednesday if I make it back to Ames in time...

Andy said...

We have dinner plans with friends that night. I'll try to meet up with your wednesday ride next week, if it's still on.

Paul said...


I wanted to let you know that I may end up being busy waiting our kitchen cupboards this weekend. Unless we get it done before Saturday I probably won't be at Seven Oaks.


Mark said...

Great job man!! The weather looked great, which I know is something that you don't always get. Sarah and I are heading up to 4 Peaks mountain on Saturday. Going to bring my bike just so I can say that I rode around there. It's a 18 mile, well grated gravel road. I'm sure somebody has a race up and down. It would be hell though. It would probably end up being about a 5000 foot climb with it's all said and done. I'll write about it monday.


Paul said...

Wow! That will be a lot of work! Have fun Mark!

Guitar Ted said...

Good job Paul. I like Ingawanis a lot too. Sorry I wasn't there, but it was my weekend to play guitar at church, so there ya go.

I would have loved to go to Seven Oaks this coming weekend, but my wife is on call that weekend, so no go!

Life gets pretty busy so I get my riding in when I can, mostly solo. That's the way it works out most of the time.

Steve Fuller said...

nice to see you at Ingawanis Paul. Glad your race went well. Hope to see you at some more of the events this year. Most of the remaining ones are near Des Moines. I looked at the overall times from the event and it's obvious that I have some work to do in the single track racing department.

Le Blaireau said...

Great stuff. The learning curve is steep but every race you'll learn a little more and it becomes more fun.