Today was probably the best day for a race!! The weather was absolutely perfect, so a lot of contenders showed up, which was phenomenal as this race benefits The Stratham Hill Park, A fast, fun, flowy place to ride. The race was well organized for an almost informal race – the ability to register on Bikereg.com this year was also a nice addition.
I ran in the sport class today and had a pretty good run, I was fortunate to have the time to pre-run the course twice this week so I knew where the tricky corners were going to be, and how I was going to need to manage my energy to get to the finish alive.
The course started out relatively flat, but there really wasn’t much time to warm up before tackling the first climb to the fire tower, I managed to take the pack right off the line so I wouldn’t get stuck behind anyone for the climb, from there I managed (barely) to hold off the pack for the rest of the ride, encountering two dropped chains which required stopping to fix, each time I was back on my bike just in time to stay in front. I also went down once on an entirely non technical corner for a reason that still eludes me.
The course this year also ran along some of the new singletrack that can be encountered at Stratham hill, which was nice as last years course seemed to ride a lot of double. If you haven’t been to SHP lately I recommend you go sample the new stuff.
I took my first sport class podium today, which felt great in a nonexistent season for me due to family and professional demands – I’m glad I could represent NEMBA with a podium.
What a great showing for New England Mountain Biking. HUGE turnout for the Landmine Classic this year. I’m not 100% sure but I think this was probably the best attended event I have ever been to. Hearing some reports of close to 600 racers? Awesome. And all proceeds go back into the trails at Wompatuck. Everyone wins.
Except for me. I got beat up something fierce. Why didn’t anyone tell me Wompy was so harsh?! Actually I think a few people tried to but it was too late. Staging before the race I was getting a lot of “Rigid huh?….Have you ever ridden here before?”. Several people told me straight out I was probably in for a pretty good beating. Arnold Roest told me there was a section on course called ‘Arm Spasms’ but I think he might have actually been referring to the entire course not just one section.
Don’t get me wrong the trails are great and the course was fun and super fast but it just has that particular kind of chattery roots and rocks that really don’t let up and if you don’t have 4-5in of travel soaking anything up your bones get RATTLED.
I was riding pretty well through the first lap, but I was paying a steep price. My wrist and shoulder were getting pretty weak and already starting to feel sore but I managed to talk myself out for my second lap. But just short of about half way around my lines were getting worse and worse and my wrist and shoulder were taking more and more of the punishment. I made the cowardly (wise?) decision to pack it in, save my joints for Bradbury and call the day a 30mi training ride.
I hoping Corey and John had a more enjoyable time than I did. Maybe next year I’ll bring the Y bike.
Here is my full report.
Hard to believe its already late August but another NH100 has come and gone. It was a perfect day for racing Sunday and the course was in amazing shape (probably the best I’ve ever seen it). We had a great showing from the team with myself, Shawn, Dustin and Dana trying our luck at the 100K distance.
This year they added a CX and STXC race the evening before which I thought was great. Fun spectator event and a great way to pass the time while camping and hanging out at the venue.
My day went about as well as I could have hoped. I had set a goal of 6h30m based on my prior 100K times this season of 6h37m at the Wildcat 100 and Carrabassett. My PR at the 100 was 6h58m set last year but I only had one cleat for 17mi last year so I figured there was some room to improve. Dustin and I were both racing in SS so we were able to work together a bit through the early flat sections, trading pulls through ‘the beach’. Now all I have to do is talk Shaun, Bully and Mark into coming out and sacrificing their own results in order to pull me to a sub 6hr finish. How does that sound guys? Anybody else have a SS who is willing to shelter me from the wind?
I was feeling great for most of the race and was still on a sub 6hr pace up until about mile 51 or so. But if you’ve ever ridden this course you know your pace up until that point doesn’t mean all that much. I went to a pretty dark place for 4-5mi as I worked my way through the last few really horrible punchy climbs waiting to ruin your day on that part of the course. I was worried I had pushed a bit too hard but coming into the final aid and the last few miles of singletrack I checked back in and was able to finish strong.
And its a good thing too because I could tell my target time was still in play but only just barely and if I was going to make it I was going to have to hurt. Luckily those last few miles are some great trails (thanks Greenfield Trails Assoc.!) so it makes it easier to hide the pain behind the really enjoyable riding. As I popped out in the state park across the street from the venue I snuck a peek at the Garmin and realized not only was it going to be close it was going to be REALLY close…get on your horse RIGHT NOW kind of close.
Spun the legs up to just about as fast as I can get them and held on for dear life. Must have looked pretty silly turning myself inside out, sprinting against exactly no one to the line. But the kindly robot read my time at 6h29m31s so it was all worth it.
Feels good to get my fastest time on my 5th straight, Hampshire Hardcore qualifying, attempt. I wrote up a little ‘Journey to Hardcore Status‘ at my blog with mini recaps from all five of my go-rounds at the NH100. Its been a wild ride.
Last weekend I was up in NH to visit some family and decided to check out the Horror at Harding Hill. EFTA puts on awesome races and this one did not disappoint.
We arrived at the race about an hour before. When registering we found out that they had a kids race in a few minutes. We quickly got everyone registered and got Lars to the start line. He was the youngest by a few years but that did not deter him. The course was great. As opposed to many of the kids races this one had actual trails. It was a .75 mile loop and the big kids were to do 2 and the young kids (Lars) were to do 1 lap. Lars chose to do 2 anyway. He had a blast and navigated his 16″ BMX bike with coaster brake through the single track well. The icing on the cake for him was that the race promoter gave him a small bottle of local NH maple syrup. He held tight to that until we got home and then made sure to use it on his waffles the next morning.
About 30 minutes after the kids race I headed out with the rest of the experts to do 4 laps of the course. I found the course to be really fun. It was not terribly technical but had enough climbing to keep everyone honest. The single track was fun and the double track added some good speed to the course. I had a good first two laps and then was starting to suffer on 3 and cracked on 4. Several racers passed me on the 4 th lap. My fitness is much better than last year but I just didn’t fuel properly for this race. It is important to get plenty of calories in early in the race to prevent bonking. I neglected to do that as my stomach was not feeling all that good. It is really difficult to race for 2hrs on electrolytes and sugar alone. I will plan better next time.
Karina Assiter had a fine race in the Women’s sport Vet category and got 3rd place.
My next race will be at Catamount in VT. for the XCT finals.
Here is the link to the Craigslist ad! Just contact me via my cell phone- text or call