The big difference between XC racing and doing a longer race is the intensity put out during the duration of the race. Typically, an endurance race is started at a fast pace, but usually an hour or so into the race a more comfortable pace is set and maintained until the finish. During an XC race, I usually have to start fast and maintain a faster pace until the finish. Of course, an XC race is only about 2 hours long and endurance races are typically 5 or more hours, so it is easier to keep a high pace for the shorter distances of an XC race. Nevertheless, I wasn't too sure how my body would react to the faster pace of an XC race.
|Climbing one of the many short steep hills at the park.|
The race started on a short stretch of pavement leading to a tight single track trail head. I was sure things would bottleneck and jam-up there, so I went hard at the start to be one of the first riders into this section of trail. A gap opened-up a short distance into the woods with me and four other riders pulling away from the rest of the pack. Only one other SS rider, Nate Annon, was in the group and I was happy with the pace being set at the front. It was fast, but not unmanageable with the gear I was using. About halfway through the first lap, Rob Spreng made a move on a long climb. I waited a few seconds for one of the other geared riders to respond to his move, but no one did. I decided to try bridging up to Rob and Todd Latocha came along with me. Todd and I got close to Rob, but we never did quite close the gap.
|A shallow creek crossing to help cool things off is always a good thing on a hot day.|
Once again, I need to give a big thank you to JR Petsko of ABRA Racing for putting together a great race. The course was in perfect condition and a blast to ride even with the hot temperatures of the day. Heck, I even got to take a nice cold shower after the race in the locker room at the swimming pool where the race day parking was. What more could a guy want after a hot day on the bike? I'm not sure when I'll be able to do another XC race with my crazy racing schedule the next couple of months, but I'll definitely be looking forward to doing another, especially if it is organized as well as this race was.
Happy Trails.... Gerry
Photo Credits: Mike Briggs - Creek Crossing
Fred Jordan - Hill Climb