Sunday, December 11, 2011

Big Bad Wolf

Helmet cam and Pete, photo by Tom
First off thanks to everyone that came out to support Steve and Paul and the Stomach of Anger series races this year.  This is the second year now a race has been hosted at Midland's Stratford Woods and it is a pretty neat venue.  An odd combination of Stoney Creek and the OLD Lower Huron course, mixed with a bit of Hudson Mills Metropark in a few spots.  (If you remember Hudson Mills you're aging yourself...)

We set the poles and flags yesterday in cold, windy weather.  A few of the TCC loyal were out and were a huge help in pounding stakes into the frozen tundra.  Because it was so windy we decided to bag trying to tape the course until Sunday morning, which turned out to be a very good thing.  When we got there at eight it was very cold and windy - any tape we would have put up the previous night wouldn't have stood a chance.  Even after going through and taping the entire pit area in the morning (which if you remember had a pretty complicated layout...) it wasn't 20 minutes before tape started shredding and flapping in the wind.

So decision time - continue to tape and hope the rest survives the west wind off the lake, or drop all the tape to the ground and hope everyone can see the course...

I decided just to send out all the TCC helpers to drop the course tape to the ground unless there was a blind turn, where we did our best to keep the tape from tearing.   I'm sure the first time riders took to the course it was a bit odd, but it wasn't a terribly complex course for the most part.  Even the volley ball pit was frozen solid when we tried to put poles in the sand, and we even had to resort to drilling holes to get flags to stay down.

Anyway, it was a good day for racing - cold temps but bright and sunny.  I was surprised to see how much a few sections were torn up because on Saturday everything was frozen solid.  The sand seemed to get harder to ride every lap - probably due to the whole "I'm tired" aspect but a lot to do with the deep ruts that were forming everywhere.

As for the race, I took the holeshot and was in the lead until the long beach, where DC and the lil' pony rolled by me.  We hopped the barriers up the hill but I could read the writing on the wall that trying to stay with those guys wasn't going to last long.  I dropped back the pace and waited for Pete to bridge.  We rode for most of the race together and soon Mark Wolowick bridged as well.  The three of us had a nice train going, which was pretty helpful in the windy sections.

Soon enough Andy Weir made the bridge to us and the pace wasn't quite so comfortable anymore...Pete and Andy and Mark all took turns on the front pushing the pace up and up out of every corner.  With three to go we bottle necked in the first tricky sand section, causing the line to string out.  Mark and I chased back on during the long sand straightaway but I was pushing the limit.  Sure enough the same thing happened with two to go but this time I lost too much ground to regain.  To add insult to injury, in trying to navigate the deep sand ruts exiting the beach I had to dab and then practically fell on top of my bike trying to remount.  The gap went from 25 m to 50+ m instantly, and I was cooked.  I ended up rolling in for fourth, which I was pretty happy with considering the company I was riding with today.

So that's all for 2012 for me.  No plans to race at nationals but good luck to those that go.

And don't forget...PUT THIS ON YOUR CALENDAR!


Surly Bastard said...

Great one JB - and I remember the Hudson Mills course. I raced there a couple of times. Anyway I've got up a post with photos, race course video, and more goofy stuff. Enjoy, and thanks again!

jbhancock said...

Nice post as usual, Surly!