work and racing has been hectic as of late - so here are my race reports, better late then never.
Big Bear 2x12 – the best tag team ever
Venue: Big Bear Lake at Hazelton, WV
Format: Duo, 6 laps total, 3 laps each
Mileage Per Lap: 11.3 according to my Garmin Edge 500
Team Members: Ernesto Marenchin (Speedgoat.com) and Brandon Draugelis (Cannondale.com)
Course and Weather conditions: Low 70’s with chance of showers later in the day. Course was mostly dry with some wet/slick spots in various spots, but overall riding very fast for the course.
Game Plan: With $1,000 for the win and it only paying one deep, we opted for the quick start and started Brandon so that we would be ahead of the field and would not have to fight through traffic later on in the day.
LAP 1 – Brandon
Brandon starts off for us under cloudy skies at 10am. Starting on the bike on the entrance road leading into the venue was less chaotic then the Le Mans style start and Brandon would be lead into the first section of single track by one of the riders of the eventual single speed class win.
Brandon rips off a super fast start and comes back to the start/finish with the single speed rider hot on his tail. Now it’s my turn.
LAP 2 – Ernesto
I take off with us in the lead. I am pushing the pace, but as soon as I near my limits, I back it off just a little.
Towards the end of the lap, going up the climb, Gerry catches me and soon after, Nick Waite. We are now sitting in second spot – about 45 seconds down by the end of the lap.
LAP 3 – Brandon
Brandon takes off and regains the lead. His pace puts us in the lead again by minutes.
LAP 4 – Ernesto
It’s tight, so I have to push it. At the top of every little climb or whenever my speed slows down, I stand up to pick up the pace – and I’m now pushing the limits of my heart rate. I’m bumping up to my max, but staying under it.
At the top of the last climb, I can’t see Nick and push on – I have about a minute lead on him as Brandon heads out.
LAP 5 – Brandon
Brandon takes off under darkening skies and somehow misses most of the rain and worsening conditions. He puts more time into the team headed up by Nick, but the finish is going to be tight.
LAP 6 – Ernesto
Mud has now engulfed the entire course, but I have ridden on these muddy trails many a time. I had to slow down in several spots, but kept my speed up overall.
Up the last muddy slow climb, I take a peek back – Nick is nowhere in sight. I push on and we take the win with about a 2 minute gap at the end.
stop 3 on the NUE series was the lumberjack 100, a venue i have been dying to get to for awhile now and it is always scheduled the week after big bear. the last time i was there, i raced the 24 hour event and then the lumberjack back to back. not good. i was until about 75 miles in and then my heart rate shot sky high.
so, i was back to conquer my demons, but it was not to be.
dry conditions made for a fast course and just as i was dropping down the backside of the first climb, my front wheel hit something under some leaves and some me flipping over a couple of times and whacking my knee that i busted up last year. instant swelling and pain in that knee made it an easy decision to yank the plug for the day. if it were 7 miles to go, that's one thing, with 70 miles. my heart told me to keep going, but my head was telling me i may be doing some serious damage.
so, i headed back and iced, iced, iced - and drank a pint, pint, pint, pint and maybe a few more. two days later, i would be riding again, feeling rested and calmer since the swelling all went away.
getting there was a fiasco.
not really knowing where i was going, i headed down to marietta ohio only to realize when i got there that the location that was listed on the one website i pulled the address for was the ranger station 18'ish miles down the road.
at 10:22, i am debating to drive back home or to try to make it to the start. having just been ticketed for speeding a few days before, i was not in the mood to be on the recieving end of another one - but, i headed north and attempted to get there.
i got to the venue with literally 1 minute to spare before they shut down registration - and it was a good thing i had prepped all my fueling the night before. i was putting on my helmet just as everybody was ligning up.
field was smaller, but packed with about 10 guys who could take the win.
soon we were out of the parking lot, and soon after that, we were heading up the first demon of the day, a hellishly long road climb.
the temps were screaming and so was the pace, by the first right hand turn i had popped off the back of the lead group and was in a group of 4 - and there was not a soul in sight behind us.
i backed off, thinking the pace was too high with these temps (average for the day was 89!) and i am the early call that they would pay for their efforts.
into the single track, i stay steady and within my limits. i pick a few riders off that i was with and then start heading towards the next main group.
by mile 11'ish or so, i catch the group with gerry and notice 2 riders are not with them. most of these guys are riding rigid's and my pivot eats up the rocks as i inch closer and eventually past them. i now search out the leaders.
i ride by myself the remainder of the race, only stopping once to grab a mountain dew and some water from an aid station.
overall tough course, but well laid out and flowed awesome. can't wait to go back next year.
next up - tuesday night worlds at westlake.