Saturday, September 17, 2016

2016 Northern Kettles Fall Epic

The mountain bike trails at New Fane are “home turf” for Team Pedal Moraine, and I feel really good about the work my teammates and I did there in today’s WEMS race, the Northern Kettles Fall Epic.

As always, the race featured long-, middle-, and short-distance options. I chose the short-distance option … or should I say the short-duration option? Riders in my race had 3 hours in which to complete as many laps as possible. Vince Steger (High Gravity), a Cat 1 from Fitchburg, was the only rider to complete 7 laps, finishing in 2:44:46. He was untouchable. He completed Lap 6 at 2:20:43. The closest pursuer was my teammate Matt Grady, who finished 6 laps in 2:36:45 and won the fatbike division by more than 16 minutes! Chris Tamborino of Hubertus was 2nd in my 26-man category, completing 6 laps in 2:40:15. Eric Larson of Schofield was a close 3rd at 2:40:59.

I placed 4th in 2:42:21. I couldn’t see Larson and my closest pursuer was almost 6 minutes behind me, so I didn’t ride the last lap as hard as I might have. Memories of crashing on the last lap of the 2015 race were fresh in my mind and I wasn’t about to do anything that could jeopardize my cyclocross season. Last year on essentially the same course, I was 7th out of 25 men in the 3-hour race, finishing in 2:38:01. So, this year was just a little slower but there were some greasy spots on the course, thanks to rain earlier this week. I rode a strong but cautious race. After working overnight, I slept from about 8 a.m. until about 11:30. That’s not much, but it was enough. I was confident as the race began at 2 p.m., I felt energetic throughout the race, and my nutrition/hydration strategy was sound.

Team Pedal Moraine had 5 riders in the race. Long-time team members Bill & Brittany Nigh served as hosts today, putting on a great event with some timing table help from yet another teammate. Two more team members showed up as fans, offering their support and congratulations to the racers. It was a nice display of unity … and racing prowess.

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