Saturday, 23 July 2011

Lake Sonoma Series 3

The third (and last) Lake Sonoma series race was held today. Even though it's been a few months since the first race (and start of the season,) it really doesn't feel like it. A guess a 3 month break in NYC will do that. It did feel good to be back in sunny Sonoma again though. The first race was a lot of fun, if not muddy, and I remember looking forward to hitting the trails again in drier conditions. The race was the same 3 laps, 5 miles each, format. Not a lot of climbing, just lots of twisty turny singletrack. Lap 1, and I overcooked it a little and got stitch. I spent the whole lap in pain and unable to get into the trail. By lap 2 I felt much better and started to warm up a little. Dropping into turns, pumping the trail and enjoying the few drops and jumps on the route. I'd decided to go "race lite" and forgo the camel's sack for a bottle drop. Lap 3 and I made the error of not bothering with the second bottle, or ingesting more Guup. So a couple of miles in and I started to wilt in the California sunshine. My, already not too impressive, performance did not improve on the last stretch.

Today was lots of fun, but I definitely wasn't wearing my race face. I think I spent all I had at Downieville. It felt more like a regular ride than a race. Also, I couldn't help but look ahead to Whistler. Instead of focussing on keeping a good pace and catching people, I thought about employing Mike's tips from last week's clinics in the hopes of getting somewhere with technique before we hit the big mountain. And, I struggled to find the flow. The course felt like a fragmented jumble of twists, turns and switchbacks. No reflection on the good folks who'd designed it, more to do with my own state of mind. Spangles must've felt something even more extreme as he decided to bail after the first lap. Overall, I came last in my group (although my lap times were a lot faster than the first race - which is good.) I haven't raced much this year, but this marks the end of the season for me. I had contemplated racing SoNoMas, but today's jaunt reminded me that those trails can be brutally hard work (when you add 30 miles and multiply by 8000ft of climbing) and not very rewarding. I dunno, maybe they need a bit of mud to make them fun? ;o)

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