Jul 21, 2010

Hindsight is 20-20, or I should have ran a 21

Ryder (my 5-year old, not Hesjedal) and I were met at Denver International Airport on Thursday afternoon by my parents. They already had the motorhome parked up at Sol Vista in Granby, the site of the 2010 U.S. Mountain Bike Championships. I was eager to get to race venue and do a lap of the race course since I had just come off of a one week of work conference of sitting idle in the San Diego Convention Center. By the time we got to Sol Vista I had just enough time to go hammer out a lap of the 9-mile course. The first thing I noticed was the thin air.

Riding the singlespeed with a 19 tooth cog proved pretty darn hard so I decided I do another couple of laps on Friday with an easier gear. I woke up Friday morning, threw on a 20 tooth and did another lap. It felt good and because there were a few sections of flat dirt road in the race course, I decided a 20 was the way to go. I didn’t want to be spinning around aimlessly while my competitors rode away from me. I thought about doing another lap, but thought I better save my legs for Saturday morning’s race. That’s probably where I made the fatalist of all my weekend’s fatal mistake. Had I done a second lap with the 20, I might have realized that it was just too much for this little 145 lb frame to push at over 9,000 feet of elevation. And so I rested up, ate dinner, and went to bed.

Well rested, I woke up at 6am, ate a good breakfast, got a good warm-up, and then rode over to the starting line. I started on the front row right next to Captain Ned Overend. I was also paying close attention to Cameron Brenneman because he has just won the Singlespeed Nat’l Marathon Championship a few weeks prior in Colorado, and he was always fast when he lived in California. I didn’t notice the other Cameron, Cameron Chambers, lined up somewhere else in our field, but in the end it didn’t really matter. The gun went off, I did the opening climb with the front group and entered the singletrack still attached, but as we climbed closer to the 9500 foot level, I started coming apart. It was all downhill from there, and not literally. It went from bad to worse as the race continued, and once I knew I was not going to recover and work my way back toward the front, I decided to just enjoy the ride. And so I did, not worrying about where I finished. I just would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had a tooth or two extra on my rear cog. Congrats to the Captain and the two Camerons for their podium performances.

The rest of the weekend was spent watching the Elite races (which I secretly wished I would have done instead of the singlespeed race). I think I’d be back of the pack Elite rather than mid or even front pack singlespeed. Oh well, maybe next year. On Sunday we broke camp and my parents and Ryder drove to a campground on Granby Lake. I did a lap of the Elite race course and then spun over to our new camp. Then we headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park and did some site seeing. Monday’s wakeup call was an early one as we did the 2 hour drive back to DIA for a morning flight back home. Ryder was an excellent travel partner. I can’t wait until I’m driving to the big races to support him. Let him suffer for a change.

Boats in Lake Granby

Ryder in Lake Granby

Good roads in the Nat'l Park.

Now go home.

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