Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Joberon Checks in !

Joberon's Race Notes:
Since my last update I've managed to get a few races in. Some poor, fair and good results to take away from it all. It started in mid July when Erin and I hit the road for some east coast racing action. A NMBS in New York and the US MTB Nationals in Vermont. Then it was back home for some local race action then up to the UP for the seasons first big P2P(point to point). Here's a little review. First up was a all new venue on the national MTB circuit. Windham Mountain New York. Not too far from Albany this venue is nestled in the beautiful Catskill Mountains and would prove to be a great warm up for MTB Nats. Besides lots of ski resort climbing I wasn't sure what to expect. This would also be my first true test with the Semi Pro's. We arrived a couple days early to allow for some pre riding. After one lap around this sub 5 mile course we were all smiles. Yes there was lots of climbing but it was broken up into smaller bits with super fun traverses and down hill's in between. Lots of sweet bridges and flowing single track and everything was ride able. It was difficult to control myself as I wanted to keep riding laps. I'm on vacation, the weather was perfect, I was in the mountains and the course is SWEET. And I had to stop riding? Racing is a funny thang. Anyway, my XC race was on Saturday morning. After a nice warm-up I was lining it up for my first NMBS Semi Pro race. I wasn't to nervous as I decided to just ride my own race. I started conservative. I was going for consistent lap times and hopefully a strong finish. I felt good for this race. I enjoyed it from start to finish as I was able to pick riders off with each passing lap. 4 total. On the last lap I tried to lift the pace and, to my surprise, it worked. I felt great. I was catching guys on both the climbs and the down hill's and was nearing the top 10 when...you guessed it, FLAT. My rear tire was leaking after hitting a sharp rock...or something. It was a mess. I was hoping the Stans would seal it. I tried a couple times with no luck. I ended up pulling the wheel off, removing the valve, replacing the tube, blah blah blah. I lost a lot of time. But, I got back up and rolling, rode hard, passed a few riders and cruised in for a finish in the 20's. Flats suck but I had fun. And I'm on vacation dammit! 2 beers to celebrate thank you. Next up was the Short Track. I was positioned mid pack at the start line and knew I'd have to jam it when the gun sounded. After a couple of laps of major suffering I was 3rd wheel. I was happy with the progress but had NO idea if I could survive to the end. After another lap or two there was a lead group of 7 or so and the games began. Someone would attack then things would slow. Testing each riding with every surge eventually we cracked a couple guys. With about two to go a rider launched and only one person could respond. Unfortunately it wasn't me. I fought with two others to the end and rolled in for 5th and a spot on a NMBS podium. I was pumped. To celebrate my visit to the podium I thought it would be fun to try out this Super D business. It was my understanding that it was XC racer friendly. Haha. The Stupid D, as I now call it, was the very last event of the weekend starting after the Short Track. I was feeling happy and confident as me, my skinsuit and 22lb hard tail loaded the chairlift. Joining me for the ride up was a dude in full body armor and a DH bike. Hint hint. After speaking to a few of these Super D specialists they had me convinced that this was a course that favored the cross country rider as it was long and had some "climbing". The start was interesting. Both the bike and rider have their own start line. The riders were about 100ft behind their machines and had to run to them at the sound of the gun. So here I am. Atop a mountain, running to my bike and riding as fast as I can. Downhill. Off we go and I find myself getting boxed out by the front runners. The start was fast and furious and I quickly forgot about the massive amount of vertical that was head. Negative vertical. Next thing you know I'm sitting in 3rd or 4th. Game on! "This ain't so bad" I thought. Suddenly things got a touch steeper, a touch faster and a touch rougher. Jagged rocks and debris everywhere. I came into a corner way to hot and almost lost it. The top 5 guys gapped me at this point and, like a total moron, I CHASED THEM. I regained contact somehow and that's when it happened. The freakin' bottom dropped out. I was already doing at least 25mph when the trail got so steep I nearly pee'd my...skinsuit. Naturally I'm ALL OVER the brakes. Total panic mode. At the bottom of this steep section, yup, a 90 degree turn. Needless to say I went flying. Up and over the handlebars landing in a flying Superman-like position. Hands and knees first. Honestly, I knew I was pretty banged up at that moment but wasn't to fussed. I was happy just knowing I made it. I was in way over my head for sure. "XC racer friendly". Yeah, right. I took a few moments to assess both myself and my bike. My left knee was pretty banged up and bleeding and I thought my thumb was possibly broken or badly sprained. Somehow I managed to make it down the rest of the way and even finish my "race". In the end I was 11th out of 13 I believe. The two guys behind me? DNF's with mechanical. Erin was nervously awaiting my arrival. She looked at me with that "you idiot" kind of look and took me over to the medical center where the friendly Windham staff put me back together. Thankfully I was OK. Lots of ice, bandages and sports tape and I was able to salvage my racing/riding holiday. Race review to be continued. Next up...Mt. Snow. Maybe some photos too. Thanks for reading.


paula said...

Great write up Joe! Glad you were ok :)

Aryn Pongratz said...

Wow Joe, sweet that you did the Super D, took ballz man. Glad you are okay. Now you can say you did it, finished it and lived to tell the story.