Jul 7, 2008

NYCMTB Highbridge

This weeks race in the city was in stark contrast to last week. It was pretty much everything you'd expect from a mountain bike race in a park in Harlem. A long skinny loop with a lot of stairs and pavement; slick rock gardens put in wherever they'd fit to slow us down and swooping switchbacks to make use of every square foot of dirt. And lots of glass. Plenty of people were in the park and on the course, but I wouldn't exactly call them spectators (on the first climb we passed two guys smoking up). Tboughts and I both rode three laps in sport category.

At the start, I took a quick lead up the first climb. The singletrack was tough and with my rusty mountain biking I was caught. The guy who caught me, Aaron, and I would trade places the first two laps. I would motor away on the wide open sections, but he had ridden the trails a dozen times before and would rail the tight turns. I could ride quite a bit faster watching his lines and I was learning how to ride the trail as I followed him.

I had a small lead going into the final singletrack of the second lap. As Aaron crept up on me, my front tire felt squirmy and I realized it was slowly losing air. Well, I thought, if I can hold onto this lead to the start/finish, I can get some air to get me through the third lap. As soon as he made contact a stick got jammed in my derailleur and I had to stop to yank it out. I jumped back on my bike but he was gone.

At the start of the third lap I grabbed a pump and enough air to get me through the race. Aaron had a good gap, but I put in a big effort to reel him in on the open section. I passed him on the last open climb and at the same time lapped a couple riders, hoping they would slow Aaron down in the singletrack.

I rode the singletrack smoothly my last time through. I was holding a pretty good lead, but then in a fit of deja vu, my rear tire started losing air. Of course, as Aaron caught me, my chain (still finicky from the incident with the stick) got jammed in my frame and I had to stop. "I feel bad..... but not too bad...", I heard as he passed me. So a win still eludes me this year. It sucks to have so many mechanicals, but the NYCMTB guys advertised a lot of rocks and glass, so I can't be too surprised. At least as a consolation prize, they gave me a free tube to limp home on.

Tboughts won her race and got a whole bunch of schwag for it. She was the only woman who entered, so it was an easy win, but she beat a few guys too, so good job.

No comments: