Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lake Sonoma Series I

This past Friday I was all set to go and see our new movie, Rango with my fellow ILM'ers and then toast our success with a few drinks too many down the pub. The weather forecast for the weekend was dire so I could afford the hangover and maybe do a quick spin around Tamarancho later the following afternoon. Well, that plan went out the window as soon as I saw a cheeky post on Facetube by the fellas at Bike Monkey. The Lake Sonoma Series race 1 (of 4) was to be held the very next day! The chance to strap on a bib and hit new dirt, all in the name of competitive fun was too strong of a draw. So my Friday eve saw me hunched over the Nomad scrubbing off Tuesday night's mud whilst my kit sat spinning in the laundrette.

The Sonoma Series takes place over 3 laps (for the Sport cat) with each lap being 5 miles. Arriving early Saturday am, I met up with Aaron who was there with his high school crew. The first race of the season was upon us! I certainly hadn't trained for it, but felt 15 miles would be totally fine given all the riding I've squeezed in recently. Mainly, I just wanted to have a fun ride around pastures new and enjoy the ambience these events generate. The Bike Monkey fellas always put on a good spread and this race was no exception. At around 10:00am, warmed up and gu'd up, we we're off!

Climbing the initial fireroad ascent, we quickly veered left into Lake Sonoma's signature singletrack. Sweeping, twisty-turny and banked - it's possible to really drop the hammers and fly around this place. Once the throng thinned out a bit, I started to get into the riding and found some good flow. The weather was perfect, but the previous week's rain had left sections of the trail muddy. By lap 2 we were getting bogged down in ruts and hike-a-biking up some of the climbs. Our knobbly tyres no match for the thick goop. Still, it didn't hamper the fun too much. The technical sections were a lot of fun. Recent trips to Tamarancho helped out a lot here. But the main grin was the singletrack.... so flowey and lovely. I can't wait to hit the other races in the series and shred some here when it's dry and dusty.

Doing the same circuit 3 times was a great experience. You learn where you can ease off and drop some Gu, and then when to turn it back up even if the heart is going like the clappers. I kept a decent, and for the most part, race pace. By the end I started to feel the flutterings of cramp in my quads. I probably could've pushed a bit harder, but not much. Overall I came 4th in my category. I'm really chuffed with that. It shows good progress from last year's racing and potential for a good season. But mostly, I'm just pleased with my riding. Always room for improvement, but I had a consistent pace and found some good flow. That'll do me for now :o)

I was going to post the race circuit GPS data, but alas... my poor Garmin friend (along with all my muddy, sweaty bike crap) was stolen from my car.... So I'll be styling all new kit at the next ride, looking like a proper noob.

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