Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Race Report: Winter Park Super Loop by Kirk Groves (@LSVLKirk)

I'm a bit burned out on crits so I decided to race on the dirt today. There were two dirt options today, Keystone and Winter Park. I choose WP for two reasons: bit cheaper and I liked the profile a bit more. As you'd expect, any event hosted at a ski area will involve substantial climbing and that was the case for both. WP's course offered some breaks in the climbing whereas Keystone looked like a single extended climb. Today's race was 18 miles, typical for a cross-country course. I've never ridden at WP so I wasn't familiar with the area. We did most of our climbing on dirt roads. Most of the descending was tight rocky singletrack with plenty of roots. To cool your feet there were two stream crossings and one was surprisingly deep. I signed up for the Sport class figuring Novice would be sandbagging.
 After a nice warmup I was prepared as I could be for the start -- a wicked climb. Attempting to control my effort I eased up a bit and entered the first section of singletrack in 5th. I stayed in the 5-8 area for the first half of the race. I slipped back two spots after having to stop and get off the bike on the nastiest climb of the day but I quickly passed one of the two guys. I was really happy with my climbing in the first half of the day. No one will ever confuse me with a mountain goat but I was holding my own and made a couple nice passes while grinding away. Early on I was a smidge conservative on the descents but I wanted to avoid crashing and I had no idea what was around any corner. I crashed twice the week before last and my legs are still healing.

My back hasn't been quite right since my last business trip. Just after the 1 hour point of the race my lower back really started to tighten up and I was in agony. It hurt just as much descending as it did climbing. I walked a good portion of the last steep climb thinking it would give my back a break and I'd minimize time lost. The final 20-30 minutes of the race brought us down the mountain. I don't descend like Brad (few can) but I can typically hold my own. I lost several spots during the descent and I felt every bump on the trail in my back.

I finished up the day 10th in the 40-44 age group out of 27. A solid result for me but I'm wondering what could have been if I'd made it to the chiro mid-week. I have a long standing theory that airplane seats were specifically design to cause back pain.

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