Ride the Ridge race 2009

The first race is in the books for 2009 and I have learned that I am in sorry racer shape.
I had seen this race being advertised, and I realized that it was very close to the Vining Tract cabins. So we rented the Vining cabin, with Jon, Elizabeth, Jamie, Kevin and Sara. Kevin was going to race his first Mt. bike race and boy did he pick a whopper.
We went down on Friday, and we got to the Blue Ridge School just in time to do the pre-ride. During the pre-ride I was thinking that this course was the hardest mt. bike race course that I have ever done. We did the beginner loop which was around 7-8miles. The course had some massive climbs and lots of technical rock sections. Reminded me of a cross of Big Bear and Gambril, but take out any fast sections besides the doubletrack downhill. Kevin rides with Platforms and is still learning allot of mt. biking skills so he was going to run through the stuff he couldn't ride. I thought he would do ok cause he was climbing almost as fast as me.
As usual I got up with plenty of time, but didn't leave on time. We get to the race site there is perfect weather and we have 20minutes before the race goes off. We get suited up and Kev changed his tire since the patch on the tube didn't hold. I lined up back of the experts and that was where I would stay all day. My game plan was to ride fast, but not to push myself like I did last year at Greenbrier. I am not in shape so I knew that I needed the miles, and a good hard effort would help my conditioning.
Lap 1
Course had been cleaned up even more then it was Friday. There were only like 3 sections that I needed to scamper though. I was riding pretty consistantly, I passed one guy on the trail and that was the last person I would pass.
Lap 2
For the 2nd of the sport riders and the 2nd, 3rd of the expert riders the race course added another climb up some switchback with rocks laying around. I was doing a pretty good pace up the climb, and by this time I am riding with the top sport guys. I was able to get thru this one rocky section that a guy was cheering at. After that climbing effort I was starting to feel my back so I started thinking of quitting after the 2nd lap and calling it a day. I kept the door open to doing another lap, so I rode conservativaly to have energy for the 3rd lap.
Lap 3
After my second lap Sara, Jamie, Elizabeth, and Jon were cheering for me at the start finish area, and I told them 110minutes for another lap, boy was I wrong...... so on the third lap I was just consentrating on just pedaling. I wasn't taking the steep downhill sweepers as fast, cause I didn't want to wreck. I was walking more of the short steep grunters that I had riden before. My lack of base miles was really showing that last lap, I started to get muscle cramps. By half way through the 2nd lap I went from racing to riding and then in the 3rd lap I went from riding to surviving. It was right about this time, one of the two expert female racers passed me. I was almost done, so I went down the hill and the back up to the super slow grass section to the finish.
I don't have my official results but here are the stats:

Darren Biggs DCMTB Whole Foods 0:58:30 1:19:18 1:29:32 3:47:20
-My first expert race where I was DFL, but at least I wasn't DNF.
24 miles
4600 feet of elevation!!
the longest XC(not enduro,SM100 kind of thing) race I have ever done for a frame of referance Greinbier the Mid-Atlantic National qualifier I did in like 2:07.

Things that went well:

  • The Vining Cabin was a great base for the weekend with the other couples we did a winery, got see the horses, and play some games
  • The pre-ride was benificitial cause I knew that I was going to need to "save" myself
  • Making a pre-determined effort to lockout the front shock and stand for parts of certain climbs.
  • Not overly stressing my lower back and ruin my season
  • Actually got through the mental hurdle of doing the 3rd lap
  • Putting in a sub 4 hour hard effort in nice weather should help the conditioning
  • I got thru two obsticles on the course I didn't believe I could
  • Kevin doing a great ride, his first mt. bike race and he did sport class where he rocked on the up hills.
What I learned:
  • I need to train on an indoor trainer or do spinning class in the winter.
  • That this Standardsville area has some good biking(did a cross dirt ride here last year)
  • I still need to work on my technical skills
  • I need to replace my cables and drivetrain soon.
  • That the course that I thought was maybe too hard for a race was actually a great course, if they berm a couple of turns and make 2-3 approuches to rock sections right it will be about perfect

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