Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Race Report: South Salem Biathlon

This race is usually the last of my season, but this year I have one more on the 13th. It's an unaffiliated, quirky race put on by friends and attended by friends, within riding distance from the house. The race centers around a roughly half mile hill at about a 9% grade - you get to bike it then run it. The rest of the bike course is highly technical and punchy, albeit short, and the run is no picnic at 4 miles including that hill and a few others. Like I said, quirky. There's an award for KOH (hill) that I was hoping for, as well as a an overall podium.

A humid day, but not oppressively so, things started out just fine. I found my way up to the front relatively. A 16 year old had taken a big gamble and jumped onto the climb and was pounding away, about a third of the way up when I started the climb. He was clearly going to summit first, but I felt I could still be in contention as his climb time could very well be the same as mine, he could have just reached the bottom faster. I put in a very solid climb and was overtaken at the timing mat on the summit - a sneaky maneuver, but a solid play nonetheless. I hadn't seen him as he climbed off my right shoulder and I was peeked off my left. Chapeau. It turned out the kid had ripped up the hill and bested both of us by :30.

All 140 pounds of him soaking wet I figured wouldn't get the job done on the descents as well as I could, so I set to hammering away. I caught the sneak who had clearly burned a few too many matches and held on to his tire for a bit, figuring to blast past him to crush some dreams on a combo of bits at the back end of the course unless he faded completely. Everything fell apart quite literally though on a 90 degree left over slick road, as I fishtailed out and dumped. I managed to spill without injury to myself or the bike, save for having to get the chain back on, but I knew it was essentially over at that point, as a few others passed by while I recovered. I got back on to finish the ride, but I was pretty upset with my luck.

I came into transition and saw I now in 7th. I didn't exactly sprint through transition, but my mind was elsewhere, I started the run without going over the mats. A few people yelled at me and I went back and did the duty, but if there was any question before, it was gone now. I made it about half a mile before my anger seethed me into a walk. I was already on brick legs, and with my asshat, I just couldn't do it. I didn't pull my head out my ass for about another mile, when I finally ran again and came in strong, simply laughing to myself that it was the only way back to my bike.

I cheered in a friend and rode home, disappointed. It's been a wacky season. I'm intolerant of mistakes, and I've made a lot this year. I'll learn from them, but they sting nonetheless. I'm lucky I wasn't hurt in the crash but there was a more conservative way to take that corner and I didn't. I need to keep the bikes up better, with newer tires and lower psi I might not have slipped, and I was ginger on the rear brake when I should have been on both. No excuse for not running harder, but I didn't feel like putting myself in a coffin just for appearances' sake. My goal was the OA, and I was out, so I took myself out. Better luck next time.

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