Bear Brook Classic XC

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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:07 am

Bear Brook Classic XC

Post by chrismitchell » Tue May 14, 2019 11:31 am

CAT 1: 19-39
First Bubba series race of the year. I was anxious to redeem myself after my crash and subsequent DNF at Wallum a couple weeks back. Busick and I made the drive up and ended up parking about a mile up the road, the venue was packed and the weather was perfect. Even better, the race organizers recognized that with all of the rain leading up to the race, part of the planned course was going to be a massive mud bog (of which there were several at Wallum) and decided to re-route the course and trim a lap from the expert field :D

The Bubba series is typically the most competitive series around, and with 22 starters in my field (only 7 at Wallum) this race was no exception. This was only my second CAT1 race after upgrading and I was focused on finishing and trying my best not to come in last. First up were the pro men, followed by the Pro women, then 45 seconds after the pro women, my race started. The pace off the start could best be defined as outrageous, particularly when we were up against a 2+ hour sufferfest. My plan off the start was to hang on to the back of the main pack for as long as I could. Going into the singletrack I managed to do just that. I had one guy behind me and there were a few stragglers off of the back of the pack. We go into the fast (Kingdom trails style) single track and with the exception of the mild heart attack I was experiencing, everything was going to plan. After maybe 5 minutes the front of my field had reached the back of the Pro Women's class creating a massive congo line of riders all the way back to me. The timing couldn't be better, I attempt to start controlling my heart rate and regroup.

Then it happened, I slid out in a corner and clipped a down tree on the side of the trail sending me flying over the handlebars in a cloud of dust. Miraculously the guy behind me managed to not run me over. I apologized as I picked up my bike and hopped back on. Within 10 seconds or so I was back onto the congo line, bike's fine, I'm fine, the guy behind me didn't seem THAT pissed, so on we went through the single track. Glad I got that out of the way early. Not more than 5 minute later, my tire rolls off of a stick, turns my wheel, and sends me barreling into yet another tree. At this point the guy behind me decides he's tired of my shit and goes around, meanwhile I'm in the middle of the trail yelling at myself untangling my bike, I'm about to hop back on when I hear riders behind me call out that they're the 40-49 leaders, I jump back onto the pack behind them and pretty quickly reach the 3-4 mile climby section of fire road/cart path. Brian goes by first, followed shortly by Busick and Rob Callahan. I manage to hang with Rob for probably a half lap or so as we're working through the jumbled mess of Pro Women, 19-39 men and 40-49 men. At this point I have no idea who is in my race. My only marker was the guy I was chasing before I crashed at Wallum, Josh from State 9. After making up some time in the cart paths, I bump into Josh and ask him if we're in last, he says he doesn't think so. Terrific. He gains a bit of a gap as we leave the tech and head into the final flowy downhill section.

The start of the second lap was my low point in the race. Heading up the first climb of the second lap, I felt like crap, my legs had nothing, I realized I hadn't drank any water and my body was ready to shut down. I pop a Gu packet and start drinking as frequent as my breathing would allow. Oscar passes me and before long he's completely out of sight. As I reached the cart path for the second time I had picked up my second wind. I even started catching glimpses of Josh from State 9. At this point I have a decision to make. Take a chance that my legs can make it to the finish as is, or pop a third Gu packet and hope my stomach can endure another load of Jelly before ejecting all contents from within. I popped the Gu and my stomach responded with a number of groans that would typically be alarming in a casual setting. Fortunately for me, this was no casual setting and my stomach held. Now I'm making up ground and I'm right on the heels of a State 9 rider. We go into the tech and I'm right on his wheel, before the punchy climb he pulls off and lets me by. I'm feeling pretty good about myself as I finish up the final DH flow and cross the finish line. Only to find out that Josh had already finished and the guy that I had chased down was a State 9 guy from the 40-49 class. Oh well, at this point at least it's over. Definitely some of the most brutal suffering I've endured. Finished 15/22 in my class, not great but actually a bit better than I anticipated. Definitely a number of things to improve on, including: Staying on my bicycle, drinking BEFORE I'm thirsty, carrying SOLID food in addition to Gu packets.

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