Monday, April 8, 2013

Race Report: Psycowpath River City Shootout

Well hello blog, how have you been? I've been MIA.

After the big blow out that was the 2012/13 CX season I was pretty refreshed and went straight into training for the summer MTB and road races. I've been playing with my Quarq power meter and have been blown away by the quality of training you can get out of it. It's pretty amazing. But, with the weather being crap I hadn't spent any time on the MTB since the Dakota 5-O last labor day.

By the time the trails finally dried out it was, you got it, about a week before the opening round of the Nebraska Lottery Psycowpath series. I made it out mid-week to make sure the mountain bike, ahem, still functioned. I was left with a less than stellar feeling going into the weekend. The bike worked great but I felt like crap. I was left wondering if I'd been spending too much time on the road playing with my new training toy. I managed to pull myself up convincing myself that nobody had been riding their MTB either so the playing field was level, right?

It was going to be an interesting weekend. Local fast-man Kent McNeill was off his usual high fitness level, as was Cam Kirkpatrick from Des Moines. Steve Jarrett was out, Kevin Limpach was out, Nate Woodman was out. The front end was looking pretty lean. One thing for sure was up and comer Brad Auen was definitely not off and was most likely going to be the guy to watch, along with teammate Greg Shimonek.

The weekend started off with a two pack of sprints creating a mini-stage race not a stage race weekend. Saturday was the 20 minute one lap time trial at Jewell Park followed by the 20 minute Short Track Cross Country at Swanson Park.

Did I mention I was nervous? Pretty typical. As I like to say, I'm motivated by self doubt.

The TT went off without a hitch. I ran through the course in my head on the ride to the park pin pointing the sections of the trail I would attack and the others I would recover on. After only one close encounter with a tree I rolled across the line in 16:15 setting a new course record and taking the win ahead of Brad and Greg. My nerves were slightly calmed.

Photo: Emily Hoesly
That evening it was off to Swanson for a more cyclocrossy style race, the STXC. Brad, Kent, and Greg immediately shot of the startline as I had a rough time getting the legs going. Brad was setting a scorching pace as I struggled to get up speed. The legs finally came around after a lap and I figured I should hit back. I made the jump around the front three and attacked the course much like I would a CX race. The gap opened up behind and the group shattered under the pressure. Twenty minutes later I rolled across the line for win number two ahead of Brad, Kent and Shim.

TT/STXC Podium (L/R) Kent McNiell, Greg Shimonek, yours truly, Brad Auen, Noah Marcus
Photo: Emily Hoesly
The next day would be interesting. Kent as I mentioned above slipped out of the intense effort XC race and into the "quest for fitness" marathon class so it was basically going to be Shim and I against Brad. Shim took the lead into the singletrack and the three of us immediately had a gap. Jeremiah Grell and Noah Marcus were close behind but never made contact over the opening two laps. As we rolled through with three laps to go both Brad and Greg went to grab bottles and I rolled through into the lead. I started to test the guys a little bit to see where I could get gaps and by mid-lap I had a plan. I finally opened it up on the backside descent and as we made our way back to the start-finish area I had 15 seconds or so on Brad and a few more on Greg.

Alone at the front in the Cross Country
Photo: Anne Savery
I continued to push hard during the 4th lap and by the end had doubled the gap. At this point I started to back off just a bit only pushing as hard as I needed to. Ultimately rolling across the line for win number three of the weekend a mere 8 seconds ahead of Brad and with two minutes to spare on Greg. I'm stoked to win at Swanson as I consider it my home track. Next up for me will be the Psycowpath Battle Royale at Platte River State Park in 4 weeks. After such a heavy cyclocross campaign last winter I'm picking and choosing my races this summer. Gotta keep it fresh.

XC Podium (L/R) Jeremiah Grell, Brad Auen, yours truely, Greg Shimonek, Jason Gaines
Photo: Emily Hoesly

1 comment:

Alexander said...

Great Job, it was intense to see Sunday Race.