Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Briar Chapel XC Race --Back to Earth.

So, after my better than expected 24hr Burn, the next event on the calendar is the XC race at Briar Chapel.  Yes, a race that requires speed is just what I needed to shrink my expanded head and bring me back down to earth.  This is an interesting course in that it is mostly fast and flowy, but there are a handful of spots spread out on the ~6 mile course that present a challenge.  A couple of short rock gardens, a short yet narrow rock/rooty/technical slow speed accent, and a nice sized log-over (16"-18") were areas that caused a few problems for even intermediate racers.  During the pre-ride a week before, I was able to clear all obstacles (had to, there was a girl riding right behind me), so I felt pretty confident about that aspect of the race.
 The area I was not sure about was division.  Now while I will only ride a Single Speed, that does not mean I will only race in the single speed class.  This class consisted of three sandbagers guys that I already knew would smoke me, then a bunch of other guys that I did not know, so I signed up for 40+ (need to act my age); but then I though how this might be my 26" Soul Cycles Hooligan's last race (cracked frame), so at the last minute I decided to switch to single speed class to send my beloved bike out the right way.
The race started well.  We were sent up and back on a gravel road to help spread us out, it worked.  I went out a little harder than usual to try and avoid any backlog on the single track, and I rode the entire race nearly unobstructed.  Everyone I encountered was cool about passing, and little to no time was lost in this area of the race.
As far as single speed or 40+, turns out I did not make the most advantageous decision, but I knew that going in.  I go smoked in the single speed division, not even sniffing the podium; however, in the 40+ I would have likely been 2nd or 3rd.  (the scoring corrections were not exactly correct, but that's cool).  Still, I rode what felt like my best XC race ever, ~18 miles at ~11.2mph (32:18 gearing).  I have ridden that pace before in XC,  but over less distance.  Then again, my odometer is not dialed in so who knows, but hey, it felt fast, I definitely left it all on the course, and I did not get hurt, so all is good.  My only mishaps: I had one low speed endo' during lap 1, but was able to stay on me feet, pick up the bike and get going.  Then in lap two I dropped my chain in the uphill rocky/rooty area.  I  had to get it put back on (lost maybe 30-40 sec.) but what a fun race and a learning experience.  What did I learn? you ask.  I learned that XC is not my strength (actually I knew this already).  The longer the race, the better I am likely to do, I mean how many people are stupid enough to want to ride for 12-24 hrs???  :)
Thanks go out to Steve Rogers and Volunteers for orchestrating such a fun event.  Good Times (but next time I go 40+). ;)


  1. Props for clearing that huge log! I didn't even attempt it. Did you slide your chainring across or 360 bunnyhop over the whole thing?

  2. Hey Cory, I am proud to say that my chainring never touched the log...though I do admit my seat hit me in the butt each time. :/ Still, my SS weighs ~10lbs less than your tank, so that certainly helps. :)