Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blackfly Challenge Race Report

This was a rough week for my bikes. The Powertap was not working--got it fixed--then it stopped working again. My 29er rear ZTR race rim was cracked and I sent it off to be replaced by Stan's crash replacement program. On a more minor front I managed to strip a chain ring bolt on the Serotta. That's a little backround as to how the week was going.

I was very excited about the Blackfly for some reason--partially because a group of us from Cooperstown were going and also because after riding the course earlier this week, I really thought I could do well. I woke up physically feeling good but for some reason I still felt like something was not right. I chalked that up to the last minute late night change-out of the rear wheel--remember I had a similar problem the morning of the LT 100--really bad karma.

We picked up Nate and were on the road by 6:30--on time for a change. I was a little startled when the GPS said we would get t0 Inlet by 8:30--a full two hours before the race start--I've never been that early to a race in my life. I figured I would use the time for a nice solid warm up. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived in Inlet it was pouring which pretty much left us running for cover and dragging our asses getting ready.

I'm the guy who always brings everything to a race--like leg warmers when the forecast is for the 80's. But somehow I managed to forget my knickers and baselayer--not really a big deal but it was a touch cold (in the low 50's) and certainly the rain was not helping--more bad karma. With a brief and wet warm up, I was feeling surprisingly good.

Do not blink because this is going to be a really short race report. After getting a nice spot on the starting line, I managed to get myself to the front pretty quickly. I settled in behind 10 or so guys on a cyclo-cross bikes and was feeling really good. I stayed up front and the first paved section was going like a road race. My plan was to kill myself to stay up front over the first couple of climbs, as I figured that was where the race was going to get sorted out. I was with Chris on his single speed cross bike and Nate also on a cross bike. As we hit the first little climb at the 2-mile mark, I was going full throttle and got to the top with the lead group--I'm guessing maybe 15 guys. I saw only one other mountain bike--I was feeling really good, but then I noticed that my HRM was now not working--what's up with all this?

As I suspected, the cross bikes all took off over the top and I was totally spun out in the 42x11 and loosing ground. As we made a quick left right combo onto the dirt road, they slowed just a touch. I was hoping the big tires would now be an advantage. As I hopped over a 4 inch rock all was going really well until I landed and could not figure out what the hell just happened.

I heard something that sounded like a shotgun going off--the 2 guys next to me screamed something and the bike got really squishy--OK, I flatted! As I tried to pedal to the side of the road, I was not moving.

I'm not sure how this happened--someone thought I hit the wheel with the chain ring when it came off--who knows.

I then realized this was hanging from my right foot--I'm thinking--what the f@#$ !

I looked at the bike and realized what had happened and knew my day was over. I was very lucky that I was not hurt and that this happened a couple hundred yards from where the spectators were, otherwise I would have been walking or even worse waiting a good long time for help. I was very fortunate to get a ride (thanks Tim) to Indian Lake where I was able to wait for Cora. No cell service can be quite a problem.

I was so bummed--I really felt like I had a good race in me.

Chris riding very strong on his SS--finished in 2:15 and change--huge ride on a 53x17--just plain sick--he was 9th in his category--congratulations to him on a great day/ride.

Mike finished strong as well--very nice! Great job getting 1st in his category/age group!

Nate smiling, though not having fun--he'll tell you it was not his day. Nate--I know you easily have top ten speed--Cora and I had a great time with you in the car and I really look forward to racing with you more in the future.

Although I didn't get any pictures of him, John did a fantastic job and placed 5th in his category and age group. More importantly, he looked sweet in his new Jackrabbit kit!


Fred said...

Dr. Matt?!
I was lined up directly to your right at the start in the Ommegang kit! And as fate would have it, 2 bike lengths behind you when I heard your shotgun go off! Sound AND smoke blew up from somewhere under your ride! A teammate of mine who was to your left even got hit with some shrapnel. I was the first guy who rode by you to your right as you were drifting over to stop. I could see as I screamed "on your right!" you looking down in pure WTF fashion. I could not and still do not believe the explosion! I'm glad to read you are all right and remember thinking at the time you were fortunate to loose your ride so close to the start. So what failed first - tires or crank? And was your crank carbon or metal? Anyway, I love the way you taped your goo down to the top tube. I'm converted. And, if you stayed with us, you'd have placed well! I came in 11th behind three other Ommegangsters.
Fred Harle

Dr. Matt said...

Fred-thanks for the comment. Not sure what failed first--tire or the crank--the crank axel was metal--I certainly didn't think I did anything out of the ordinary--the whole thing was kind of weird! It was a pleasure talking with you at the start--hope the goo tape-down method brings you success! Congratulations on a super-strong finish--best of luck the rest of the season.