Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Race report - Teva Mountain Games 2009

Kayak Sprint - Race #1 in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge was a 3 mile kayak sprint that started 3 miles up Gore Creek from Vail Village, and ended just before the Covered Bridge down in the Village. It's run in a format similar to a time trial, with race personnel holding your boat in the water and letting you go in 1 minute intervals. I was nervous about how well I'd be able to maneuver my boat to begin with, and it helped a lot to stand on the bridge and watch the first 10 racers hit a tree within 25 yards of the start and get their faces raked with branches. Fortunately, those of us with later start times got to see a few successes in dodging the tree and had the starting current figured out by the time we had to put in - cut across the white stuff and get out to left middle.

One of the choppy sections in the first half of the course, much nastier than the one that did me in a bit later.

As expected, I was a little sketchy in the boat. Not as bad as I'd thought I might be, but enough to take the easier lines vs. fastest in spots, which ultimately led to my undoing in this race. About half way down the course I was looking upriver and saw that the main current led into a rough hole that may be better for me to avoid at my current state of paddling confidence. I opted for a line river right, vs. the chute down the middle where the fast line was. It was an error in reading the water here that was the problem, moreso than the rusty boat handling. The line I chose was turned back toward the middle of the river by a large rock, which will kind of slingshot you back into the main current if ridden right. But, if your late getting off the outside edge of the current, the force of the water is going to push you right into the rock vs. slingshot you by it. I got caught being more worried about staying away from the main current and the rough drop, than getting off the outside line of my current and avoiding the rock, and... hit the rock, and was upside down before I knew it. If you've never swam in 36 degree water, I don't recommend it. I made one vain attempt at a roll before I had to pull the hatch on the skirt and unwedge out of the boat while floating head down boat up down the creek. I had to bail.

They had spotters up and down the creek who were there to help retrieve boats, paddles, and people, and in theory get them warmed up, and back in the boat to finish the race. They got my boat quickly, but missed my paddle, which meant the end of my race. I couldn't finish without the paddle. I was up the creek without a paddle. I was really dissapointed, but probably got what I deserved after not putting in any preparation - but it still stings to go out over a stupid, avoidable mistake. The fast guys finished the course in 17 minutes, you could float it in 25. I was actually assigned a time for the purposes of the overall competition, 1 hour and 21 minute time, which is better than what I earned - a DNF. Maybe the 1 hour 21 minutes has to do with when my paddle showed up down river asking for help finding it's dad, the wet bald guy.

MTB XC race - The big dogs were here, watched Craig, Wells, Trebon, JHK, Overend, and others hammer up the hills in the morning, fun to watch. We (both Annie and I) went off later in the afternoon. This was Annie's first mountain bike race, and it didn't take long into Friday's preride for me to feel guilty about helping persuade her into racing this one. It was not an easy course, typical ski resort layout with stiff climbs, which she can handle, but the single track coming back down was really tight, fast, technical stuff with little room for error, big punishment for a miss, and scary as hell to a girl doing her first race. We picked out the spots where she'd jump off and walk/run around, with the main goal being to have fun and stay safe. It was a major gut check for her and she went after it - she's a pretty cool chick. I told her after it was over that I wouldn't have let her sign up if I'd seen the course first.

My race went well. I raced the sport class, which was a 2 lap race around the 5.6 mile course with 1,200 ft of climbing per lap. The climbing was hard, but the downhill was a riot - see previous post for description. Finished 28 of the 80 starters, and similar to the Iron Horse, there were some really fast cats at this one, even in the sport class. I felt good at the end of the race, and think I'm going to bump up to racing expert starting this weekend at Deer Valley. Not that I'm ready to be competitive there, but think I'm ready and need to extend the duration of these race efforts to accelerate my conditioning.

10K run - The guy who built this course is a bastard. Spent the first half of this brutal event crawling up the mountain, almost literally in spots. Not a hint of exageration in my telling you that there were a few sections that redlined me just walking up them, I'm hurting again just thinking about it. 6.5 miles of trail, with 1,800 feet of climbing translates into not much flat, and steep ups and downs. Unlike doing climbs like that on a bike where your hard effort on the climb is rewarded with a fun descent, running up a mountain means one thing, it's going to be harder on your body going back down. 10% was the average grade on this course, and running a 10% grade downhill sucks much worse than running 10% uphill. Uphill makes for sore legs, downhill makes for the bottom of your feet catching on fire from the friction. I finished in 1:16, the winning time was 49 minutes. That's a lot of time to hemmorage in a 10k. I finished about where I deserved to. It was actually a decent run for me, but true to my form, I'd put one 6 mile run and one 3 mile run in the week prior to departure and this race made me pay for that. I would be hurting by the time the hill climb rolled around a couple of hours later.

Hill Climb time trial - Annie went first, and rode fantastic, despite being rattled at the start by some confusion with the line up. The gal they lined up in front of Annie get's up on the start ramp, clips in and is ready to go, when with about 8 seconds left in the countdown they announce her as AnneMarie White. That sets off a chain of events that has them rushing around figuring whose supposed to be going, figuring out it's Annie, and rushing her off about 10 seconds after her countdown had counted down. She rode great and had a lot of fun. Finished 5 of 10, not too shabby!

I left a little on the table here that I'll attribute to not knowing the course. Legs were sore, but rode well given the hell I'd been through in the 10K a few hours earlier. Fairly flat with rollers for the first 5-6 miles, then it turns up. Had a good kick at the end and had more in the tank, but ran out of real estate. Not sure the aero seatpost/seat was the right choice for that amount of climbing. Not sure it wasn't either, just not sure. Finished this one in 38 minutes, 9.6 miles with just over 1,700 ft. of climbing, mostly isolated to the last 3 miles.

Quick lesson from the guy working on his bike in the video last post - talked to him when he got to the top and he said he's skewer had gotten caught on the guy holding him up at the start. Seems odd, especially watching the video after the fact and seeing that it's unlikely that the starters shorts could have snagged on, but one of those flukey things to learn from at the poor guys expense.

Overall - fantastic weekend with Annie and fantastic weekend at the races, think this one will become an annual event for the White family.

Next post - Leadville Recon

1 comment:

evilbanks said...

"10K run - The guy who built this course is a bastard."

That's good shit!