|Catch that guy, Adam!
8/5/12 Palos Meltdown Race Report
by Adam Kaplan
Wow. What a perfect day to ride mountain bikes. The rain the night before made the trails nice and tacky, and reduced the dust a lot. It was sunny and low 80 deg. temps with a light breeze.
Geoff Scott and I drove out to Palos with my wife and two daughters. The family made for great cheerleaders for the both of us. There were plenty of booths to check out and vendors for smoothies and hot dogs that made for a good lunch.
Registering was painless and Geoff and I got our numbers very quickly. No numbers for the jersey, as they used a RFID chip on the bike number plate for timing. Nice.
|Geoff at the start of the race
Geoff and Kristy raced the Sport class and did 2 laps. Kristy had a real look of determination on her face as I cheered her on in the first lap. Geoff just grinned and said “This is fun!” as he passed by. All the races started with a mild uphill and a lap around the grassy field, but that didn’t really help spread out the field. Geoff said he had to hike a bike around downed riders a few times before things opened up. He did his two laps and finished in the top third overall. He mentioned feeling like a real mountain biker now that he was becoming more confident holding his line and flowing through the technical spots. Great job Geoff!
I raced the Cat. 2 Comp class that raced 3 laps. I lined up right in the middle of the pack of 109 riders. After the Elite men and women went, we all started together. It was a bit of a struggle to find my own pace with so many other racers around and found I had to go slower than I wanted to in some sections due to simple congestion. After the first long lap, things opened up a bit and I found a good rhythm. Coming into the second lap, my oldest daughter gave me a bottle hand up that I promptly dropped, but Geoff was there to the rescue and got me the needed bottle on my next pass. The girls were a great cheering section!
At this point, I was trading off places with guys who were weaker on the single track, and stronger on the fire roads. I could tell these guys had some legs from road racing.
Second lap of the race, I found myself going faster through the single track and picking up quite a few places. It was important to ride strong on the multi-track in order to keep your place. As I came by a second time, Geoff tricked me into thinking I had yet another lap to go and this coming lap wasn’t the final one! I was getting fatigued and fell for it. I saw Kelly as I was fueling up on a gel and was encouraged by her cheering. I did let a few riders get past me as I tried to conserve a bit of energy for my “last” lap. As I got the line I started to go towards the lap route and Geoff yelled “you’re done!” and I toddled over the finish dazed and confused.
I finished 23rd out of 109 overall, and 13thout of 55 for my 30-39 age group. No mechanicals and great trail riding and conditions. Loved it!
|Post Race ..
Race Report – WORS #7 Sunburst Showdown
by Adam Kaplan
I chose this race to be my first in over 10 years. It took place in the Kettle Moraine area of Southeast WI and promised to be a fun course. I was convinced to enter the Cat. 2 Comp category against my better judgment by Sean Bjork, a XXX racer and friend of the shop. Geoff Scott, a fellow Spidermonkey, joined us as well. Geoff entered the Sport category.
Geoff and I arrived plenty early to get parking and a preview lap of the course. The course starts off after the prologue with a steep, twisty, forested single track climb up the ski hill. As it has been really hot and dry, the soil was very dusty. The course then winds its way up and down the ski hill with fast, bermed turns that were a lot of fun. The second half of the course wound its way back and forth a field with pine trees and was on mowed grass. This was filled with a lot of hair pin turns and was similar to a cyclocross course according to Geoff. I found the climb out of this area to be more fatiguing than the more technical climb that started us off. It was really hot. It was over 90 deg. for sure. This did play a role in everyone’s performance.
After lining up behind the Pro/Elite men and Women, the call ups began. Staging was very well organized and the two elite categories started 2 min. ahead of the rest of us. The Comp field was to complete four laps; the Pros had to do five.
When the bell went off for us, it was a mile of pure dust and jockeying for position. It wasn’t until after the first climb that I could breathe easy and try to settle in. First lap went great. Second lap I pushed a bit harder and was very thankful that Geoff organized hand ups of full water bottles. Third lap, I realized that I taxed myself a bit and started to get bad cramping in both hamstrings. I could have used some electrolytes to drink, but only had water. I rode within myself here, holding a solid mid pack position. I even started to pick off more riders on the beginning of the last lap. Feeling confident that I had enough left in the tank, I really let it rip down the main downhill half way through the course. I passed three other riders and was ready to pound out the last half of the lap when I realized I had a puncture! The Stan’s sealant was not enough to close the hole. Of course I didn’t bring a CO2/tube. I got off the bike and found a guy loading up some gear on the side of the course and borrowed a floor pump and was able to get about 15psi in the tire and rode it that soft for about a half mile. Then the bead finally pulled off the rim and I was reduced to walking/running. I was ultimately able to borrow a rear wheel from some racers camping out by the side of the course. There was amazing support from other racers here.
I was very glad to not DNF in my first race in years. Looking at the results, had I not flatted I would have come in mid pack. As it was, I wasn’t DFL either. Overall, I had a great time, worked hard, and rode my brains out.
|Kristi looking tough at the start of the race.
Photo by D. Cushman
by Kristi Hanson
CamRock would be my first mountain bike race ever!!! and I was not really sure what to expect. I mean I had a feeling it would be a little bit like a cross race but I was really just speculating. I signed up for the beginners race “Citizen Cat 3” because I wanted to ensure I was not getting in over my head and ten miles was about as long as I had ridden on a mountain bike in many years. I may have endurance but I by no means have the technical skills:) Just as an FYI, each race was made up of 5 mile loops and the higher level categories just did more and had a more technical course.
The race started with a large climb so I knew this would play in my favor. When the gun went off I pushed up the hill and was very near the front. On the second part of the hill it was pretty rocky and the girl in front of me got caught up and ended up getting off her bike. This caused me to slow but I managed to get around her and make it up ok.
As I continued on, each new corner felt like a new adventure. Would it be a log, a sharp corner, a steep climb?? Never really knew but just took them as they came. The first hard section for me was a switch back that was pretty bumpy. I made it around the first corner but then I had to unclip for the second part and ended up taking it on foot. During this section, two girls caught up to me and one of them stated “I would really like to pass you”. My initial reaction was ok well then passes me but all I said was “go ahead”. It would have been fine it she would have just went but instead she decided to dink around and then I got kind of mad and I may have not said the nicest of things. Afterwards I felt really bad but there was nothing else I could do at this point so I just continued on. I think the most frustrating part was that I just passed her back about a minute later and stayed in front of her the rest of the race. I guess I kind of view this like a cross race, where it is the other rider’s responsibility to make the pass and I should not have to wait for you to pass me. Maybe I am wrong; I mean this is my first mountain bike race so what do I know :)
After this section there was a lot of double track and it allowed me to pass a few more girls and a few of the slower guys. When passing the guys they were all AWESOME and so ENGOURAGING!! They would usually move over for you and would follow it up with “GO GET THEM!!”
The next section of single track was tough because it was filled with logs. Most of them I made it over and after each I may have followed it up by saying “Nailed It”. The last one however, ended up costing me a spot at least for now. I took the path of least resistance (i.e., went around the log) and a girl passed me right over the log. I give her a “NICEWORK!!” and she road off. I told myself next time you will go over the log!! No time to be a baby.
After the logs, the next section had a steep hill I had to go down and then another steep hill I had to go up on the other side. This is typically where I failed at Palos but I just took a dept breath and off I went. Success!! The hills were followed by a few burns which if taken correctly could be fast. I did not figure this out until the second lap so the first lap I took them very slow.
The technical stuff was followed by a straight away which I basically sprinted and then a few switch backs that were pretty easy and it was off to the second lap.
Official Spidermonkey Participant List:
Jan Van Nuffelen