Monday, April 20, 2009

That's just dirty and wrong...

(I'm going to get all kinds of creative titles out of this off-road endeavor.)
This weekend I wanted to test out the new Xterra racing rig (Titus Racer-X) and start to sharpen my skills before the impending Xterra regional race in May.

I made the trip up to the Quad Cities where my Alma Mater (Augustana College) was having a ceremony dedicating the new track to my former XC and track coach. As it happened the first race in our Central Illinois I-74 mtb series was the next morning on a little island in the Mississippi.

As you can tell it was a mudfest. I raced in the sport (midle) category which was supposed to be 16 mostly techinical miles (4X4 loops). Thunderstorms and continual rain led to the dropping of a lap to 3 loops. The perimeter of this island is only a little over a mile, so as you can imagine, they used all the real estate available for this race. There were very few fast open sections. It was almost all technical singletrack- which proved to be a good tune-up for me.

The longest open stretch came at the start and was probably 1/4 mile long. Someone snapped a chain (or more likely tried to shift under a heavy load) and created a big pile-up that briefly took down my buddy Sean (above) and sent a few people to the hospital. I got caught behind the pile-up and entered the singletrack down quite a few spots. The single track was chock full of tight muddy turns, logs, roots, cement and all manner of things designed to reacquaint you with gravity.

Long story short, I mostly stayed upright and moved up through the field. The new bike handled beautifully with no major problems- I think I burned up an entire set of brake pads though! I finished 5th overall with Sean literally on my wheel. I'm pretty happy with that result as my first pure MTB race in more than 10 years.

This will be the only mtb race I will get in before the Xterra regional in May, so hopefully it was enough to dust off the handling skillz.