22 May 2017

Green Lake Grinder 2017 edition

The snow has all gone, well from around town at least. It's now light until way after 10pm and the mountain bike trails are deemed to be dry enough and have opened up. Before the mountain bike season kicks off into full swing, there are a number of other races that I have the option to attend. Once the dirt riding takes off though, I find myself less inclined to want to race on anything other than dirt.

One race that is quickly becoming a must do, is put on by one of the sponsors for the team I ride on.
Speedway Cycles is the primary sponsor for the only gravel race in town. The race takes place on base (JBER) which means it's in an area that I can't normally ride without a lot of preparation aka hassle.

This year the weather was definitely not as nice as for last years race. The forecast called for rain, and sure enough as we started the neutral roll out, there was a light precipitation in the air. By the time we were four miles in and the race started, the rain had ceased and the gravel was dry and dusty.
Neutral Roll out

Neutral Roll out

How did my race go... 

Very well actually, much better than last year where I bonked pretty badly around 30miles. This year I was a little better positioned once we got going after the neutral roll out which definitely helped. I was still dropped on the first climb but tried to ride smart and ending up working with a friend (Rob) from mile 9 to mile 11 to catch back onto the lead group. I was promptly dropped from this group at well before mile 14 and proceeded to ride solo until around mile 27.
Around mile 15.5 chasing the specks in the distance. 

The specks in the distance (Greg, David, Jason, Jack, Paul)

I'm all alone aside from the bears and moose.... 
This is where I did something smart for a change. I slowed down so that I could work together with a group who were following me. The group contained a few teammates (Oscar, Ryan and Brad), Rob was also in the group and a speedway rider.
Riding in a paceline again. 
Brad was pretty tired and unfortunately was dropped off the back of the paceline I think during one of my pulls on the front, sorry Brad. The remainder of the group worked well together and slowly started reeling in the group in front of us.

At around mile 34.5 Oscar took a big pull to try and get me up to the group in front who were tantalisingly close. I took my turn then Ryan took over, we were now on one of the final steep climbs and the group ahead had slowed. With the assistance from my team mates I managed to bridge the gap and actually get into the group. As we descended and made a right turn I pushed my way forward and as we started the next climb I was at the front. I pedalled steadily with Greg, Jack and Paul. Greg mentioned he didn't want the group to catch back up so we set a steady pace up the final climbs towards the finish.

Around 2/3's of the way up the bigger climb a guy in a vehicle coming the other way mentioned that there were three bears in the road up ahead. I'm sure they will be gone by the time we get there I was thinking. We rounded a couple of corners and there in the road were a mother and two baby bears. I quickly turned to Greg and questioned what we should do. "Shout and make noise lets see if we can get them off the roadway" he responded. It worked, that was a good call by Greg. We continued along the road, rounded a couple more corners and came face to face with another bear. We all started shouting at this bear and he too ran off the road, though no where near as far.

We pushed the pace up the remaining climb, descended down through the ski area and rejoined paved road. Greg was a little ahead of me by this point and I definitely didn't have the legs to catch him. Another rider in the group Jack who had silently caught onto my wheel proceeded to zip past me before the finish. All in all a great day on the bike.

I finished in 9th place which is an improvement on last years race where I finished 14th. More significantly for me I didn't have any huge debilitating cramps which I have been suffering from on many of these races. I also felt relatively fresh at the end which is a nice feeling.

Congratulations to the usual suspects for showing us what really fast people are like. Nice racing Will and Laura to take the wins.

Thanks to Greg, Tim and all who put this race on, I know it can't be easy but we all really appreciate it.

And last but not least a huge thanks to Amanda for taking care of the munchkin whilst I raced, I couldn't do it without you!

Full results

Strava file in case you were wondering.

No comments:

Post a Comment