Monday, June 7, 2010

Angel Fire Race Update Big Sunday DH Race

Sunday the weather greeted us with a smile and was nice and hot. During an inspection of my bike I noticed my rear brake pads on my basically new Transition TR450 were totally worn out! The 3 stage mud race the previous weekend must have taken them out along with me obviously being hard on the rear brake. I tried swapping the front and rear pads since I seem to be riding with a bunch of rear brake but this fouled up the front brake. After the first practice run I ended up borrowing a front Jucy7 from the guys at Secret Cyclery. Once that drama was over I got in one clean run and was ready to race!

My personal goal for this race was to be the fastest Cat1 on the mountain so I could be considered for a Pro upgrade of my license so I took this dead serious. I wanted to hang out and relax but I ended up getting Jesse Townsend to drive me & my preggy wife and son to the top of the course and walk it. While we walked I shot video of the sections that I was having trouble with and of new fast lines I wanted to hit. I reviewed that video before bed and again before practice.
Jesse had been riding well all weekend and had some hot lines sorted out. I got to the top just in time to cheer him on as he blasted out of the gate. He looked great as he disappeared in the woods but it didn't last long. One of the most tricky parts of the track, a triple rock drop, brought him down hard on his front end and caused him to go down.

I was putting a ton of pressure on myself and was super nervous. I just sat and ran through the course over and over in my head. I reviewed the warm up drills and bike handling skills in the handout I got from James Wilson's bike skills class. We only had 30 second gaps between riders and I knew I was faster than the 2 guys in front of me and would have to pass both of them messing up my run. Luckily I talked the start guy into letting me go first in the class so I had a clean course!

I dropped in and put my all down. My time on this course last year was a 5:28:69 with a pretty good run. My goal this year after my strength & Skills training and better quality equipment was a 5:10. I made some mistakes but held it together and was smooth. Where I could I pedaled like mad and had the strength to recover in the rough sections. Where I had to coast on the steep flats I rode switch to get my back leg to recover. I stayed in control and had power to blast across the finish line.

I could not believe it when I came to a stop and heard I had just ran a 5:01:28! I collapsed to my knees with arms up screaming! I had no idea I had or even could go that fast. I feel I could do it again maybe even a little faster with some more work. This time made me the fastest Cat1/Expert/Semi-Pro on the mountain that day in any age group & would have put me in 19th place out of 47 Pros.

It was a great and huge victory that took a years worth of work and is very special to me. I sincerely thank GrassRoots Cycles for their service & support, MRP, James Wilson/MTB Strength Training Systems, Transition Bikes, Marzocchi Suspension, the Secret Cyclery Gravity team for loaning me parts 2 weeks in a row, & of course my lovely wife Sara for taking care of all the details.

Eric Landis