Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mullet Classic (Ahquabi) Race Report

The final race of the IORCA mountain bike series was held at Lake Ahquabi near Indianola. We were treated to a beautiful fall day and the bikers came out in force. 155 riders showed up for the race and I have to think that this is a record turnout for an IORCA race. To top it off, we were going to have a mass start and run all categories together.

Ahquabi is a fast course and Bruce B. worked his butt off to add a mile or two of singletrack to get it up closer to a 8 mile course.

Rasmussen Team BS'ing before the start.

After the initial instructions, the entire group moved down the road for the start. I don't usually line up on the front row and didn't plan on it today, but I found myself between Cam and Tony with Jed next to Cam. To top it off, Jay Chesterman from Omaha, Basso, Vandelune, Alread and Blackford where on the second row. I briefly thought about swapping places with someone, but then thought "screw it". I figured that I'd go as hard as possible and ride a good line. In most of my races, I seem to start near 10th and then pick a few off at the end of the race. I wanted to see if I could hold the harder pace as long as possible. It was a 40 mile race, but even if I won my class, I couldn't win the overall series. I might as well try.

Cam leads the group over the slight bump to start the first lap. Tony is behind him and Jed is hidden behind Tony and to my left.

Jed goes rabbit on me over the hump.

After we started, I sprinted as hard as possible to the entrance of the narrow double track. I was fourth wheel going into it behind Cam, Jed and Tony. They were pushing hard, but I was holding on. We hit the first steep hill, which is maybe 200 feet and possibly 10% grade. I stood and pushed a higher gear and although I didn't get passed, I did lose some ground to the first three. On the fast section after the descent, Chesterman came around me. I kept him in sight for a bit and stayed 5th wheel up the second tricky and steep climb. At this point, Basso was screaming at me to keep it up. We were pushing hard and I think breaking away from those behind us. However, Pete destroyed the sidewall of his wheel and all I heard was the sound of a deflating tire and the end of his race.

Not too long after that I was caught by several and decided to hold a medium pace so I could recover a little. I certainly felt like I went out too hard and that I had paid the price. I think that I came through the start finish in 13th place or so. I had to remind myself that many of those that passed me were the faster sport class racers and were racing fewer laps.
Lap 2 was more recovery and somewhere in here, Squirrel passed me. He left me with encouraging words and reminded me that it was a long race and that everyone was hurting. I took that to heart and waited until lap 3 to push hard again.
At the start of lap 3, I was down in 17th place and could see about 8 riders in front of me. I began to pick them off one at a time and midway through lap 4 could finally see Jason Alread and another rider on the backside of the course. I pulled onto their wheel and recovered for awhile. It was Jason pulling the 2nd riders along and #2 looked at me and asked if I wanted by. I loudly announced my presence to get into Jason's head and told them I was happy sucking their wheels (probably 18mph through this section). I even gave Jason a hard time about his being too small to create a large enough draft for us. It was all in good fun.

It was all that I could do in not passing, but I wanted to be smart and save it for a pass that would stick. I waited until after the levy and north end bridge and jumped on the short hill afterwards. They couldn't respond and I was now in 8th or 9th place. That had to be one of the best moments of my racing season as I rarely have the opportunity to make a tactical decision and then to have it work.

I might have caught one or two others, but don't remember. I ended up 8th overall and 1st in the 35+ category. I was happy with the race and the overall season, but in the end Jason had a better season and pulled out the overall series win in 35+. Glad that it was a teammate and he's a good guy on top of that. I will be gunning for the title next year.

1 comment:

Todd said...

Good Job Bro!!!