|West Bend’s Jeff Wren was 4th in the Sport 50-54 race.|
Located between Cambridge and Rockdale in eastern Dane County, CamRock County Park features some of the most popular mountain bike trails in Wisconsin. For me, though, CamRock has been primarily a cyclocross destination: different part of the park, different trail system. For whatever reason, my only mountain bike race at CamRock was back in 2012 when I competed as a Cat 3.
That beginner-friendly course was much easier than the one I faced on Sunday in the Battle Of CamRock, my second WORS race of 2017. I knew that I would be severely tested by many technical descents. Those continue to be my Achilles’ heel, and my inability to handle them well resulted in a 12th-place finish in my 15-man age group in the Cat 2 “Sport” race. I was 112th of 189 overall.
Not my best result … but the effort was there. I had a productive pre-ride on Saturday afternoon, got good rest on Saturday night, managed my nutrition and hydration needs effectively, and so on. Even the weather was in my favor: sunny and 82° on Sunday morning. My start was OK and the early flat or uphill sections of singletrack were no problem. My fitness was good: at just 1:11:48.1 of race time, my endurance wasn’t tested. But my performance went downhill whenever the trail went downhill—it’s that simple. To finish 12th out of 15 in my age group is disappointing, but it was a fairly tight pack. I was less than 4 minutes behind Jeff Wren (Team Extreme) for the final podium spot, and I lost all of that time on descents.
I thought about going to Wausau next Saturday for a WEMS race, but I’m abandoning that idea. And I’m taking Eau Claire and La Crosse off my WORS calendar, as I always suspected I would. I think it makes sense to put more energy into practice sessions close to home. I haven’t been to Greenbush yet this year, and I haven’t been to New Fane enough. Those trails are not just nearby; they’re also the sites of major racing objectives at the end of the season. Even Glacial Blue Hills looks like a good option for me right now. I need better skills, and maybe it’s best that I don’t try to find them during a race.