I skipped the hill climb two weeks ago in favor of training, so I began my yearly Winter Park campaign with the first mountain circuit. Here I am rocking the old-school t-shirt from my early days with GT:
You can see from the mud all over the bike that it was a good race. I always enjoy a race that has technical challenges, and that includes adverse conditions. It's my only hope against women that are faster than me but more tentative. :)
But first, we had to overcome a tent setup problem. When DC rider Ryan Amirault contacted the Winter Park people, an underling told him he couldn't set up in the start/finish because the tent would "compete with the current sponsors." Considering that we're a race team, not expo workers, we were frustrated by this. Yes, we're promoting GT, but we're doing that in the course of trying to race and being athletes. Being barred from the start/finish when every other race team was setting up there was definitely not cool.
So when we arrived, my man Rob and I went to seek out the race organizer, Jon, who has always been a very nice person and a patient, enthusiastic promoter. We explained that the tents are for a race team, and he said it was no problem for us to set up with the other teams. We just couldn't be next to the sponsor tents, which was fine.
On to the tent setup...me on the left, Ryan putting up his on the far end.
After talking to people and handing out a bunch of our blue Sport Beans (always makes the tent a popular spot!) we had to settle down to racing.
The course was a long-feeling 18 miles, with plenty of rocky, muddy, rooty singletrack. You had to push for every pedal stroke, for sure. In spite of that, the downhills were a blast, as always, and the Marathon felt like a million bucks. I made some girls that were younger than me nervous (finally I broke down and told them that I wasn't in competition with them) but that's about all I can brag about. My lack of fitness is still apparent, and Colorado is a tough place to be not-quite-in-shape. :)
But I had a great time, and got to talk to some more people about the bike afterward, so I consider the race a success.
I spent the next day doing lift-assisted downhill runs, working on my speed and skills for the upcoming Super D race in two weeks. FUN!! I hope to make a decent showing there, but since the Winter Park people can't resist starting their Super D up a steep access road, that puts me at a bit of a disadvantage.
Heck, maybe I should just switch to downhill racing. Especially with this beauty available:
Now I have a week to pull myself together for the Firecracker 50. It's going to be a crazy scene, with the GT Golden Bike Series there as well as the Demo Program. Sweet!