Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 Missouri State MTB Report

This past weekend was the Greensfelder Challenge  over  in St. Louis, Missouri.  This event would also be the 2013 Missouri State Mountain Bike Championships and award qualifying spots to those riders planning on going to the National Championships in July. While I personally have no ambitions nor talent to race nationals, Tige Lamb and Christopher both headed over to qualify, test their fitness and possible bring home a title.

Greensfelder is hidden in the hills of West St. Louis County (just behind 6 Flags).  The hilly trails are open to hikers, bikers and equestrians.  They are maintained by the Gateway Off-Road Cyclist  .  If you are ever in the St. Louis area be sure to check out these trails.  The GORC guys/gals did an awesome job and these trials just plain flow.  They have a little of everything including a monstrous rocky/rooty climb that would test anyone's cycling ability.  I personally walked that bad boy every lap.  The majority of the trails are smooth flowing single track.  There were several miles of some rocky/hilly terrain that allowed riders with some technical ability to shine. Very fun trails for just about any ability level.  I know I enjoyed my time riding them on Sunday.

Last year Christopher made an attempt at returning to racing mountain bikes.  He started in the junior class and won 3 events in a row including the 2012 Missouri State Mountain Bike Championships which were held in Warsaw.  A winter passed with a few attempts at racing cyclocross to keep his fitness up.  The long winter and early wet spring did nothing to motivate Christopher to ride or train much.  This showed up in spades on Sunday.

A couple of weeks ago I asked Christopher if he was going to try and defend his title.  He said yes and asked when the event was.  I said in 3 weeks.  "I guess I need to go out and ride then"   5 rides later and Christopher arrives Sunday with a new Giant 29er MTB and what he thought was enough form to earn another championship and a ticket to Nationals.  Seven male juniors lined up including Dylan Bartlett who placed 2nd last year behind Christopher.  This years event played out the exact opposite as last years.  Christopher lead for the majority of the event and enjoyed a nice lead up until the final mile of the course.  At the bottom of the final climb there is a short section of double track.  Christopher was getting really tired by this point and eased off some so he did not blow up.  This allowed Dylan to catch up to him.  Once Dylan caught up he attacked at the bottom of the climb and that was all he needed.  Christopher had nothing left in his legs and watched as Dylan road away to earn the state championship.  Christopher rolled in 2nd place and got a ticket to nationals.  That might be one ticket that we will not use.

Tige lined up with a health group of Cat 1 riders.  As expected, most of the big boys were racing including strong riders like  Kenda/Felt rider Drew Edsall,  Daniel Miller, Travis Doon, Chris Ploch, Bob Arnold, Doug Long and Aaron Elwell. 

Tige put a good first lap, but fatigue from a very hard week of training and work caught up to him.  He still earned 4th place in the Male 40 - 49 division and stamped ticket to nationals.  I am sure a easier week will allow for a strong showing at Sunday's Kansas State MTB Championships/ Dirty Little Secret.

My plan for the day was to ride a steady race, have consistent lap times and test my wrist. I have put in a lot of physical therapy and the hard work has started to pay off with very little pain in my wrist.    My legs felt o.k. morning so I opted to ride an entire lap to warm-up.  When it came time to start I guess adrenalin  took over and before I knew it I was sprinting to the front in front of the like riders like Peat Henry, Mike Barro and David Delessio (the eventual podium).  This did not last for long and by the end of the first technical downhill I was in last place (10th) in the Single Speed class.  Yes, last place and feeling damn good about it.  I honestly thought I would bring back most of riders by the time the 2nd lap came around.

I rolled the flowing single track and technical sections great.  On the rocky/rooty climbs I quite honestly suffered.  With a single speed you really need to have the power to keep on top of the gear.  Today I was a little off on the power side.  These same rocky sections would come back in a big way on my 2nd lap.
On the final lap I really thought I would start to bring back some riders.  I was catching up and passing riders but very few of them were in the SS class. On course I came up on Christopher who was out doing a cool down lap and talking to a collegiate cyclist who just happened to be in town visiting.  As they chatted and I went flying by Christopher dropped in behind me.  I was still having trouble with the rocky/rooty climbs so I told Christopher to go by me as I was unable to keep my pace.  On one of the climbs I tried a different line on the edge of the course.  I ended up running over a loose rock which flipped up and got in my drive train.  This caused it to derail and I spent the next 5 minutes getting the chain back on my single speed.  Luckily Christopher finally came back and help and I was soon back rolling and enjoying the course. 

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