3 June 2009 | Race Reports
US Cup #3: Bump’n’Grind Race Report
The down-and dirty:
It was hot in Alabama. Hot and humid. Luckily the whole course was in the trees, so that helped. We were slated for 4 laps of the 5 mile course. After pre-riding I was pretty sure that 4 laps was going to be short, but I guess that is the direction things are moving- Houffalize and Madrid were both under 1.5 hours. Maybe they will shorten the courses to 45 minutes and add some barriers…
Anyway, back to the race. The course was very fast and sandy (I guess I was expecting more of a Mt. Snow or Snowshoe-type course) with not much passing (except one 2-3 minute paved climb and a 2k paved flat-to-downhill run into the finish). Even though the trail wasn’t very technical at slow speeds when you were going fast it was easy to blow a corner or clip your bars on a tree (I managed to do both).
I had a good start and was 3rd wheel going into the singletrack (behind Katerina and Catharine and right in front of Katie). The four of us rode together at a pretty manageable pace, until we hit the paved climb when Catharine attacked. Katerina went with her, but I wasn’t feeling so hot. A little gap opened, and Katie went around me. I caught up by the next paved section and was surprised at how easy it was when you were sitting in. On the second lap on one of the rock step-ups, Catharine bobbled and Katerina crashed right behind her. I had just enough time to take a different line and not lose Katie’s wheel. Katie went to the front and picked up the pace a bit, but Catharine and I were right there. Katerina was stuck in no-man’s land just a few seconds back, but it was hard to close down a gap on all the pavement.
On the third lap, I went into the singletrack first and tried to set a good steady hard pace. By the paved climb I had a few seconds gap, but Catharine caught up to me on the climb. The two of us rode together for the rest of the lap, and she went first into the singletrack on the last lap. (In retrospect, I should have made more of an effort to be first into the singletrack then.) I rode behind her pretty comfortably, but she punched it on the pavement and got a little gap. I caught back up in the last singletrack, and we came out onto the last stretch of pavement together.
I didn’t want to play cat-and-mouse for the last few minutes of the race, so I figured I would go to the front and set a good tempo and lead it out into the finish. There were two 90 degree left hand turns before the finishing straight, and I knew that if I got through them first, I wouldn’t have a problem. Unfortunately, I went a little wide in the first corner, and Catharine didn’t miss the opportunity to sneak in on the inside. I sprinted hard, but didn’t really have enough time to come around. Bummer. I was pleased with my race overall, if not with my sloppy riding at the end.
Now I’m home for the next few races (Teva Games in Vail and the next US Cup race in Colorado Springs), and I don’t have to travel out of the state until BC Bike race at the end of the month.