Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Arrives on the Front Range

Since I'm in the Far East, our own Barry Wicknasty ( Braden Snead) steps in as a guest contributor for this weeks Colorado installment. Congrats to Scott on another IL state championship and your win on Sunday Braden!...with no futher adieu, take it away Sneady:

From the moment I left the house, I knew this was going to be cold race. After a quick 1 hour drive up to Lone Tree, the thermometer in my truck registered a brisk 24F deg when I rolled into the parking lot at the Mountain Ridge Middle School. Periodic snow storms over the past few days had blanketed the entire course with a good 4-5in of fluff with some light crust on the top. The Adrenalin Race Team had done their best to clear out the course, but the snow was pretty much inescapable. Given this wasn’t a points race and the bone chilling weather, I didn’t expect there would be a big turnout. However, I expected there would be more than the 4 riders, including myself, registered for the Men’s Cat 3 Open category. After warming up in the parking lot and dumping my tire press down as much as possible while hopefully not pinching, I rolled up to the start line wondering how many laps it would take for my toes and fingers to go numb (ended up begin about ¾ of the way through the first lap).

Starting whistle blew and the 4 of us sprinted up the snow and ice covered sidewalk, our rear wheels repeatedly spinning from the lack of traction. After the sprint, the first half of the course was a mix of snow packed straight away sections mixed in with tricky off camber, fluff covered, switchback turns, culminating in a 6in ramp jump and a long fast downhill with a super narrow, snow packed single track with crust covered fluff on both sides. Line choice and strategic braking were crucial in keeping the rubber side down. After another mix of straights and switchback with two short run ups, it was rinse and repeat. You definitely would have liked this course! Gerald from Boulder Cycle quickly pulled into the lead spot with myself and one of the local Adrenalin guys in tow. Midway through the second lap, Gerald and I started to gap away. I would consistently run down Gerald in the techy sections, only to watch him pull away in the straights. After yo-yoing for a couple laps and a few slips on my part, he had created a solid 12-15 sec lead before a bobble in the off camber stuff allowed me to catch back up. In the final lap, he bobbled again and I made my move, passing through the chundery snow coming into the ramp jump. I figured if I could build a gap in the downhill and subsequent technical sections, I might be able to hold the lead. If not, I knew he would crush me in the sprint like he had been doing every lap prior.

All that forethought quickly went to pot as I lost it in the first right hand sweeping turn of the downhill. My less than stellar line choices in the pass had layered snow and slush all over my brake pads and when I tried to scrub speed in the turn, friction was for lack of a better term, well “lacking”. Despite my best attempts to channel Uncle Crusty, I two wheel drifted through the turn but couldn’t hold it and blasting off into the deep snow on the inside edge, grinding to a complete stop. Gerald rolled by as I yanked the bike out and remounted, figuring my shot at winning was done. Wanting to finish strong and hold my position at a minimum, I pegged it to the floor and going through the techy sections I somehow managed to catch back up at the top of the last run-up. I remounted and hugged Gerald’s wheel into the last crunchy off camber right hander thinking I might be able to shoot the gap on the inside, cut him off, and get a head start on the sprint up the hill to the finish. Luck intervened and out of the blue, the leader bobbled and dumped off into the deep stuff on the outside and got tangling up in the tape. I slipped by and pedaled away up the hill to the finish, figuring my victory had likely come at the expense of my toes. After huddling in the truck with the heater full blast for about 30minutes, the feeling thankfully returned to my toes.

BTW, if anyone is looking to see to killer photography, our own Dave Meadows has posted an album from Pikes Peak Velo Cross here

Thanks for posting Sneady and thanks all for reading


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