OHill MTB Race

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OHill MTB Race

Post by cbusick » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:14 am

The first NEXC XC race of the season.

There were only 7 40+ pre-reged:
Me : Last Year’s 40+ Headbanger Series Winner, but can I do a short race?
David Cade : Last Year’s overall Efta XC winner
Kevin Killay : 2nd last year
Estras Pechim : My nemesis from last year
David Fitch : ???
Dan Desmarais : From Scotty Westport. I kicked his ass all last MTB season only have him hand it back to me during CX. Was this going to be a CX race or a MTB race?
Andrew Wellman : More of a marathon guy, but basically one of those typical guys who comes down from Vermont to ruin my day.

Of course I didn’t do my research before the race. I figured Estras would win, had no idea how I’d do, but I wanted to beat Dan to make up for my poor showing last year in CX.

Everyone under 40 was sent 90 seconds ahead of us, which put me on the front row for the start. Not bad! Of course, my whole field was on the front row for the start.

The race started along a flat grass road for a couple hundred yards before making a right turn through a ditch and then up couple switchbacks through recently cleared field to the top of the observatory hill. That wasn’t bad, the climb was only around 50 feet of elevation, but after that it’s twisty single track down the hill without any opportunities to pass. I was expecting my usual poor start followed by getting stuck in traffic, but somehow I made it to the observatory with only Estras, Fitch and Scott (50+) ahead of me, so that’s 3rd!

A/B line: 1/2 way down there’s a A/B choice, with the A line going off a drop that looks like it was made by some college kids with some scrap they found. The B line did an extra couple switchbacks. If you launched the A line it gave you a significant advantage, like 15 seconds per lap. I had no intention of doing the drop. When I saw Estras and Fitch going that way I figure I was going to be battling for 3rd. Then Estras jumped off his bike and ran down around the drop with Fitch yelling at him to get out of the way so he could drop. It wasn’t as fast as launching, but looking at the flyby it still gave him a 6 second gap over Scott who had been on his wheel at the split. When I got to the merge I could see Andy flying down after going off the drop so I eased up to let him through first, but then he over cooked the turn a bit and slammed on his brakes and I ran into him. No harm no foul.

You guys are probably wondering about the mud. Up until now and actually all the way down to the bottom, there isn’t any mud, and this is actually a pretty fun ride. Loamy, banked turns, lots of little jumps that even I was hitting and a couple technical spots over tree roots or rocks. But now we are at the bottom and we turn to start climbing back up. This hits mud pit 1. 10% climbs in mud are novel. Eventually people figured out you can keep moving forward if you go off the trail to the right and ride through the leaves and $100 sticks. The first lap it was mayhem though with people trying to pass and spinning out, as you’d expect.

After getting out of the first mud pit you are only 1/2 way up the climb. There’s a second mud put where you have the option of riding a big skinny for 30 or 40’ or finding your way through the mud to the left. This mud wasn’t that bad though and as the day went on it dried out to the point where it was definitely faster than riding the skinny. I passed David Fitch here, who’s titled his race “Mtn bike race!!!
When you think you're in shape.... try a mountain bike race! “ Apparently he wasn’t in climbing shape, because I never saw him again.

At the top you go through a bit of a terrain park with a big step up that I ignored closing to hop the log instead. Then it gets pretty fun going down again starting with a big log that had a sort of mini landing ramp after it. I was getting more and more air off of this every lap.
Then there’s a crazy right switchback into a mud hole where the only traction is the leaves and broken sticks to the right, again, but to get there you first have to navigate the big Gloucester CX style rut in the turn. If you start pedaling before your rear tire clears the rut you’ll do a 180 and get all screwed up. I never got good at this but I at least got to the point where I stopped making that mistake. After that mud, your tires are completely jammed up with thick clay mud that makes the next couple downhill turns very entertaining until you can hit a pile of rocks and get some traction back. Several people hit trees here, but I managed to slide as much to the left as the right and say upright.

Then you are at the bottom again. There’s a little swampy grassy climb to sap the legs, then down into another little mud hole with another GCP rut followed by a stretch of 2018 CX style mud. This starts with a large puddle that the college kids threw a bunch of sticks into and hoped for luck, followed by a couple hundred yards of muddy climb. It levels out for a bit, which gives some hope, but then turns right back up the grade and over a large birch log that everyone was spinning out on. I spun out here several times during pre-ride and committed to just running the whole thing until I cleared the log. I passed several people here on the first lap and caught up to Estras!

After the remount you climb for a bit more on dirt, but Estras seemed to be struggling so I made the pass and he didn’t react. Am I winning? On the FIRST LAP? How is that possible?

The lap finishes with another swampy grass/moss climb with everyone trying and failing to find a line that doesn’t suck, the a fun little down with a couple jumps that were fun and good at clearing off the tires. I just kept driving up this and saw the gap to Estras opening up. I thought I was doing pretty good, but I could see Cole about 20 seconds back in a group with Dan from Scotties, Estras, and a few others.. Cole starts fast though, right?

Second lap I’m trying to put time into the chase group as I’m blowing through the back of the under 40 field. I catch Segenchuck’s kid at the observatory but he doesn’t let me enter the single track first. I follow him down impatiently looking over my shoulder on the switchbacks. I need to get by…. Then he hits a tree and I slip by on the left with a quick “thank you!”

2nd lap I just keep driving. There's still that same group about 20-30 seconds back. At one point I pass the sight of a topless Mark Millar walking his bike out with a flat tire. “Looking good Mark!”

I take the B line again and see the guy I ran into last time (Andy) take the A-Line and get ahead of me again. I catch up.
Me: “wow you really make up time taking that drop”
Andy: “yeah, figured I’d try it. Let me know when you want to come by. What race are you in?”
Me: “40+”
Andy: “Oh, me too. Any idea how we are doing?”
Me: “I’m a bit confused by the A/B line, but I think we are winning”
And then for the next 70 minutes we tried to kill each other while maintaining a friendly conversation (when we could talk). There was nobody coming behind us. I think we put 2 minutes into 3rd place. I could get a small gap on him, like maybe 5 seconds on the climbs but as soon as I eased up he’d be right back there.

Going into lap 5 (of 6) I attacked like it was the last lap of a CX race. Still he was clinging on a few seconds back. WONT THIS GUY QUIT ALREADY!!!! I threw everything I had at it, finally on the long slog climb he yelled out and gave me a wave that I think might have meant, OK, you got me.

I caught up to Fairbanks at the beginning of the last lap. “Jeff, I’ve been trying to get rid of this guy all day, I might have to get by!” But I followed him down the hill, we both took the B line, then he let me by in one of the wider sections. I didn’t drop him though, and he gave me occasional reports on the gap to Andy as we went along. Then I hit the little climb before the CX mud run and it sounded like my drivetrain was trying to rip itself apart. “Your chain is sticking and sucking bad!” Jeff yelled. I looked down and the ring was so encased in a leaf/mud mix that it was rubbing my ankle. I didn’t have time to stop and clean it with Andy lurking back there so I hoped it wouldn’t implode for just a little further.
I made it to the mud run, and ran the whole thing without my left calf cramping up completely. Then stopped at the top to clear the mud and leaves off the ring. The chain came off, I put it back on, backpedaling, but it fell off so I put it on forward pedaling and it stayed. I jumped on, with my left calf seizing up on the jump. OH crap! That’s not good!!!, but then I managed to work it out. Andy was still in the swamp somewhere. Later he said he had to stop to clear mud off the drivetrain then too.

And that’s it. I survived for the win. Nearly fell down with the arches of my feet and calf cramping up trying to get my shoes and socks off, but its a WIN!
-Chris Busick

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by KTeves » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:13 pm

Congrats Chris! And nice report.

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by Jacob » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:07 pm

Nice job!

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by JeremyC » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:48 pm

Stefan would be proud of that report

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by oscarp » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:52 pm

Wow, that sounded like a fun time!

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by ahamilton » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:02 pm

oscarp wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:52 pm
Wow, that sounded like a fun time!
Pretty much the opposite of what I was thinking. :-)

Nice job Chris.

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by jraguin » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:32 pm

I love it that you had written something like 2000 words and then said "And then for the next 70 minutes we tried to kill each other". So I don't know how long this race was but it sounds awful.

Great win!

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by Briana » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:26 am

Great report Chris, now i'm sad that i missed it. After Massochista (Durty Hurty) on Sat I wouldn't have done much. Hoping to be motivated enough after Rasputitsa to make it to Wallum.
Brian Anderson

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by michaelcole » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:56 pm

Read the first 2000 words from Chris again and that's pretty much my report. First lap was fast and my HR was never below 500 but somehow it felt good. Really hard, but good. Right with Chris for most of the lap then he disappeared.

In prerace, I was thinking that Scott Martin was probably going to beat me and the rest of the field was probably a coin flip based on who did or didn't have climbing legs and who did or didn't have crashing issues. But early in the race I was sure that I caught and dropped Scott. (Afterwards we figured out I must have been delerious and it was another teammate in that same kit) But there were a few people launching the drop and getting away. I thought one or two were in my field so I figured I was in 2nd or third. I started cramping up during lap 5 and had to walk the mud sections that I had previously ridden and a guy who had been 20-30 seconds back for most of the race caught me and went away on the climb after the log while I was still walking.
I caught another couple of younger guys in lap 6 but finished thinking I was 3rd or 4th in the 50+.
Then Chris explains that Scott had definitely been way ahead of me, and I decide that I must be off the podium.
Turns out that I was battling with younger guys the whole time and got second.
I won a Blinky light and a 6 of PBR.
Stopped for a burrito at Bueno y Sano.
A good day for sure.

But it was the hardest 90 minutes I can ever remember. 15-16 minute lap with about 12 of that being hard climbing and the rest was actually not recovery because it was pretty technical.

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Re: OHill MTB Race

Post by pace21 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:43 pm

Serious FOMO going on

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