Saturday, May 3, 2008

Idyllwild Spring Challenge

Ouch. This course is a BEAST. My Garmin says 30 miles and 7k feet of climbing. Oof. I managed 5th out of 7 in 30-34 Expert, not a bad day considering I had ZERO REST going into this race. Word.I'm not going into a long-winded report on this one: in 3.5 hours of full-throttle racing a lot happened.

I managed to make a very smart move early on and stay with the front pack; nice. My plan was to hang with the fast boys out front for as long as I could. So far, this tactic has dramatically improved my confidence in my fitness since I know I have the horsepower to hang with guys I consider very talented cyclists.

Unfortunately on of the Trek/VW Pro riders (Nigel Hill?) crashed hard enough that he had to be airlifted out; I heard reports he was bleeding from the ears and disoriented. From my Paramedic experience, I know that could be a sign of a serious head injury. Hopefully he's OK...thoughts and prayers out to him.

So I hung with the front pack until mile 12 or so; the second of three major climbs. The climb is very techy and requires you to get on and off your bike repeatedly unless you know the lines or save energy for the last half of the race ( I didn't do that!). I got off at one point and the majority of the field went by. Soon after the top of the climb, I found a rider in my class leaned over his bike heaving his guts out.

Me: "Don't worry, man. I'm almost there" because I was.

He'd rally to pass me a scant few minutes later. Way to puke and rally! I was impressed!

Me: "Nice rally, man!". I think mystery rider finished 4th.

The last climb to the "top" is a brutal pavement climb that I and others would walk parts of. I managed to crash twice and draw a little blood both times. I started cramping at mile 21 and had to be very careful not to lock up all together. Big thanks to Mary from Siren cycles for the "pull" through the rolling single track toward the end.

I managed to implode less severely than two other racers in my class and pull 5th out of my arse. Here's a look at the elevation profile:

It says the elevation gain is more like 4400 feet instead of the 7k my Garmin recorded. It certainly felt like 7k vertical feet.

Alas, awards only went 3-deep in my class and I did not get one of he super-sick marble plaques they handed out as awards.

I totally DIG this race, tight, technical, steep, gorgeous views and way more single track than fire road. Couple that with the tons of schwag they raffled off and the CASH PRIZES for Expert class winners and I'll back next year if I can swing it. Pro male winner got to cash a check for a thousand bucks! All for a $35 entry fee. MTB race directors stand up and take note, the folks at the Idyllwild Cycling club know how to put on a PIMP event. Sweet.


5/9 - Full results here:

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