Just about home time for Ros and I - traveling back from Oregon tomorrow (Saturday). Feeling a little low about this. Still, it's been fab and to wangle a 4 week holiday is pretty cool. Pic above is Don (in VCM colours!) on a cheeky turn on the North Umpqua trail in S.Oregon, a very tasty trail indeed.
Been lucky enough to do 2 races whilst visiting Oregon. The first, the Falls City Firecracker was one of the most fun xc races i've ever done. 4 laps of a pretty savage straight up, straight down course (think Sidlaws but with trees and even steeper climbing!). A fast start and gap on the rest of the field lasted all of 1 minute and quickly morphed into mid field granny ring scratting. The Trek Fuel I was borrowing may not have been the most spritely beast up the climbs but on the descents it ripped and helped me gain back some places. By lap 4 I was really scratting up the climb but kept it going to finish 5th in the expert men. Chuffed with this for my first mtb race of the year.
The Ashland Super D was possibly even more fun - a 12 mile downhill race with one 5 min climb in the middle. Don had sorted Maverick for me, perfect for this type of race. 6" at the front, 5" at the rear plus funky adjustable seat height with bar mounted leaver. A few days of riding before including a couple of rides on a section of the North Umpqua trail had me pretty used to the bike and really enjoying it. A pre run of the course the evening before showed a healthy mix of flat-out-loose-crash-and-you-die type dirt road and also plenty of woodsy singletrack.
On race day I was feeling reasonably optimistic. Maybe not challenging Mark Weir, the Santa Cruz dude for a sub 36mins, but hopeful of a good showing - sub 40min with a clean run and more importantly no crashes (not insured to race mtbs on holiday, tut tut!).
Unfortunately, I got my race head on, steamed off from the start house completely forgetting about a pretty hefty ditch across the dirt road 400m in. I'd told myself in practice to slow up and roll through this but with way too much speed and no time to slow down I had to try jump it... I squeaked over, just (thank fook!), but the landing bounced my chain off and it wrapped around my cranks with the rear mech joining in the fun around the rear cogs. Bugger. On the fastest part of the course I had to stop and untangle things.
The chain jumped off and wrapped the cranks solid another two times on my run. Frustrating indeed. Together with not being able to use the offending big ring meant I probably lost a good couple of minutes. Funny, my last dh race was in 1994 (Silton Bomber) and my chain and rear mech wrapped themselves up good and proper pretty early into the run on that day..
On reflection I shouldn't have felt so frustrated. The course was brilliant fun, I didn't crash, didn't damage the bike or me, rode most of the course pretty well and finished 6th in my cat with a 42:19. Even better was getting to ride with friends on excellent trails and seeing Don and Mike from Sunnyside putting in great rides with Mike posting an awesome sub 40 min time.
I'd definately recommend this race (www.breakaway-events.net/) if you happen to be in this neck of the woods in June and the Ashland Shakespeare Festival is in full swing at the same time too! Bonus.