Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back from WOR

Star, Michele, and I loaded up Friday afternoon and headed up to Prescott for the Whiskey Off Road. My goal this year was quite simple, walk less and beat my time from last year. A year ago I finished in 5 hours 27 minutes and could barely walk when I got done. This year Todd added a mile and a half or so of new singletrack to the ride bringing the actual mileage up to 27. I've been riding more this year and I already know the course so I figured should be more than doable.

We got to town around 5 or so and checked into the Motel 6. In no time we had the car unloaded and hopped bikes for downtown to pick up registration packets and eat some dinner at Pearl's. After dinner we hit the pre-race meeting then it was back to the hotel to do some last minute bike tune up work and go to bed.

Star and I rolled out at 6:45 to watch the 50 proof start and Michele joined us an hour later in time for my 25 proof start at 8. Star started 15 minutes later in the 15 proof. The funny thing about this race is that I was never nervous. Every other race I've been in I get crazy butterflies in my stomach before the start. Not this time, kind of a nice change.

At the start I got dropped by 75% of the field before we'd covered 2 blocks, that's the new gear in action for you. I knew the road climb would be my worst part of the ride and it didn't disappoint, I was hurting on the pavement. I even got off my bike for one short little 20 foot stretch. I was one of the last people to hit dirt, but that's where I shine, so no big deal. I'm convinced that there are a certain kind people at this point in the race. There's the people like me, no fitness but a decent skill set and then the people with fitness but not ready for the singletrack. The second group is the only reason a guy like me beats anybody. I passed a decent number of people in the first few miles of singletrack and was feeling pretty cocky until the fast 15 proofers started passing me. I got myself into a comfortable pace and stayed mostly on the bike until I could really start making time on the decent down 260. Unfortunately I got stuck at the end of a ten man conga line right at the top. Part of the problem with being slow in most situations is that I don't feel that I've got much of a right to start demanding trail when I know I'm faster. Lucky for me once the trail turned rutted up and sandy everybody ahead dismounted allowing me to sneak right on by. 260 was far better than last year making it really easy to scream down to the bottom at breakneck speed. Of course most of those that I passed on the decent would later pass me on the long fire road climb. I was able to stay on my bike longer this year but I still walked my fair share between the two aid stations. I spent about 5 minutes at the top of the climb. Once I realized I was just under 4 hours in I got my ass back in gear and started back down towards town. I was having a blast coming down until that stupid little SOB of a climb near the end, I walked that in it's entirety. Singletrack from there back to pavement was good clean fun. I forgot that the pavement was as flat as it was in places and I found myself cursing the gear that had served me so well for the previous 26 or so miles. I rolled across the line in 5 hours and 2 minutes beating last years time by 25 minutes.

27 miles 5800 feet in 5 hours, not bad for a Saturday ride.

After we hit PBC for some much needed grub and back to the hotel for showers and a nap. For the awards ceremony we walked back into town due to the fact that my ass wanted nothing more to do with my saddle that night. Cactus Joe's had a taco bar set up after awards and then we dove right into the Todd sponsored pub crawl. I got my fill of Diet Coke and water and Michele had a few while Star was the true champ. Speaking of Star, she knocked out the 15 proof in 2 hours 28 minutes, a solid mid pack finish.

This morning after sleeping in we hit the Hassayampa for some posh breakfast and then off to Granite Basin to work the stiffness our of our legs before heading home. I've never been there before and was pleasantly surprised by the fantastic singletrack that we found. We covered 5 miles 1000 feet in 1 hour 15 minutes.

Not a bad weekend if I do say so myself.

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