Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Iron Mountain 100k

My first time racing or even riding these trails had me a bit nervous. I didn't really know what to expect from the course and I had set a goal for myself to try and ride all the climbs that my technical skills would allow. This meant modifying my usual singlespeed setup but even then I knew there would be climbs where walking would be just as fast as a 22x32 grind and save precious energy. I arrived in Damascus Saturday afternoon and was amazed at the number of bikes I saw rolling down the Virginia Creeper Trail and parked outside many local businesses. This little mountain town has a great biking culture and it shows. Free camping just for the race was available right in the middle of town next to a cool little river.

The race started Sunday morning at a reasonable 8am. After the race meeting we headed out of town following an ancient Suburban pace car. After a couple of miles we jumped on the Virginia Creeper (rails to trails). I saw a couple of riders take off from the pack but everyone else just sat back in an easy pace. I tried to pull a David Shaver break away so I wouldn't have so much traffic on the first singletrack climb. It worked at first but then the peleton sped up and passed me. I had no Kevin Costner helping paint me as a "dum dum" nor Ted Danson calling off the wolves since I was a "nobody."

Despite the traffic on the first climb I got to ride up tons of technical singletrack even late in the race when I was sick of it, my legs were stiff, and I was wishing I had my singlespeed as an excuse for walking. I had a little crash on a really slick off camber downhill section that was covered in wet roots but the pain of those scrapes got covered up pretty quick by muscle fatigue from all the climbing. There were some loooong fireroad climbs that had me wondering if I missed the arrow several times. The reward was a big variety of downhills. Some were really fast and flowy while others hammered you with loose, rocky steeps that made one finger braking hard to maintain. Finish was 31st out of 50 something in open men with a time of 7:03. I lost 3 or 4 places near the end when I stopped to help another racer with a flat and a failed tube. We didn't know that we were only a half mile from the finish but no biggie. I was glad to help out since I had no mechanicals and he was nice enough to find me after the race and give me a replacement tube.


co2cycle said...

fine racing in the toughest events--as always, JD.
Hollywood illustrated that if you're not riding, the classic BCC handup is a beer and a snack cake, but if you're riding or racing, the appropriate BCC hand up (hand down?) is a spare tube. JD is genuine class.

John Miles said...

Strong work JD.