Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crystal Clear Objectives

Yeah, it was a perfect late afternoon for riding at New Fane.
Except for the mountain bike trails at Suamico, all of the courses on this year’s WORS schedule are new to me.  Getting information about them isn’t always easy—the descriptions in the official racer handbook only go so far—but this week the Internet has yielded some good intelligence on Sunday’s Crystal Lake Classic in Rhinelander.  Here is a description of the Citizens (Cat 3) course from race director Elvis Bauman: “Rolling logging roads traversing through the camp with nice smooth singletrack that will give the beginner biker a little workout but still have fun!  Our famous boardwalk area is a fun little ride through our ecology bog before you come to our final half mile of track.”  And when he says “track” he really means gravel road; the course begins and ends with it.  My race will cover two laps of the 4.24-mile course and the winning time should be around 50 minutes.

I want to win my age group on Sunday and I think I have a good chance.  Rumor has it that Michael Cudahy, who won at Iola, is upgrading to Cat 2.  I should get a call-up on Sunday and from my position in the front row I should have a clear shot at the fast gravel road start.  I’m comfortable on gravel and should be able to get a jump on most of the field.  The course is fairly flat but its biggest hill climb comes just 1.25 miles into the race and should be enough of a bump to create significant gaps if a large group is still together.  If I can be among the first riders to reach the base of the climb, then I should be set up well for the rest of the race.  Obviously, I’ll know a lot more when I do the pre-ride on Saturday, but this sounds like a good course for me.

Technical singletrack is still a great challenge for me.  I won’t have to face much of it on Sunday but I did put in a serious training effort today at New Fane.  I completed three full laps, finishing the last in a personal-best 27 minutes.  Tonight’s softball game didn’t start until 9 p.m., so I had a rare opportunity to ride on a Wednesday.  I consider riding well at New Fane to be a good gauge of my development as I mountain biker.  Today’s ride was a great confidence booster in advance of what I hope will be a successful weekend at Rhinelander.

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