Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mountain Bike Marathon Nationals

Our own Robert Stanley, 2010 50-59 Open Mountain Bike Marathon National Champion, recently traveled to Bend, Oregon to defend his title. Here is his report.

It was great to get the first call up spot for the mountain bike marathon national championship on a cool crisp day in Bend, OR.

The 5 miles of pavement was easy until the last 1/2 mile before the singletrack when a failed attack produced a second one and I found myself about 5th going into the singletrack. I almost missed a turn and ended up on the ground and out of contact with the leaders. When we started climbing on the singletrack I started to pass racers and was soon in contact with a group of 4 racers and in 7th place.



In a technical section I lost contact again due to untimely issues passing a slower age group rider. Passing the first aid station I regained contact on the 4 racers and started a winding climb up to the high point of the race. Unfortunately, about 3/4 of the way up I hit the wall and slowed drastically. Cramming everything I had to eat and drink into my system was the only choice I had and hope that it would not take to long to get to the downhill and a chance to recover.

I felt like I lost about 10 min. on the long crawl up and had a number of racers pass me. Finally I reached the top and used the downhill to recover. I rode the 6 miles of gravel road and doubletrack up to the second aid station strongly and did get a glimpse of the same 4 racers and was thinking I could get on the podium, but the second trip up to the high point was more destructive to my race than first time as I hit a rock, throwing my wheel out of true and burping some air. I had to stop and air up with riders passing me.

From the top we turned east on a different downhill section of singletrack and I was set to ride down as fast as I could to get on the podium. It was not to be as the tire lost more air and I had to stop and put a tube in. A large number of riders passed me as I tried to get the tube in, but my race was over. I had no chance at catching the podium. I enjoyed the ride back to Bend. I finished 16th.

We jumped into the car and drove to Boise that night and made it back to Longmont on Sunday evening.

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