2009 King of Burlingame MTB TT Race Team Report
Sunny, blustery day with temps in the low 50’s. Rain from the week before made the course fairly wet and muddy in some spots but overall the course was mostly dry.
The course was a 7 mile loop of rolling terrain in Burlingame State Park, Rhode Island. There were a few technical rock garden sections but nothing too terribly difficult. The format was that of a normal individual time trial with 30 second gaps between starts.
- Michael Good – Expert Men 40-59 – 16th
- Teri Carilli – Sport Women – 2nd
- Kristen Lukach – Sport Women – 5th
I sprinted for seven miles.
The first two miles or so is the most technical section: a few muddy rock gardens, a couple of stream crossings and more logs to ride over than last year. Most were rideable but a couple were tall enough to be a challenge to climb over. One of the guys at the start heard Kristen and I discussing one of the larger trees that were down and said there was a build up on the far left of the trail so it was indeed rideable. And he was right – although it scared the crap out of me when I did it. :)
Goals were to: 1) better last year’s time 2) ride smoother 3) I was starting in first position, so not to let anyone pass me.
The start seemed to take forever. Experts went off first, then all the sport men, then my group. We kept doing a few laps up and down the road to keep warm as we waited about an hour for our turn to come. The first 100 yards is a fast, flat, sprint on hard pack dirt with a downed tree to get over (in view of all those waiting to start). My fear is always that I’ll sprint really hard and biff it on the tree. Most of the men were able to just fly over, bunny hopping the log. I contemplated trying it but chickened out, slowed, lifted the front wheel and rode over. At least I didn’t biff it. :)
I rode the technical bits in the first two miles way better than last year – in fact, I rode almost all of it unlike last year where I did get off to walk in a few places. I think that played a big factor in my time savings. I was more prepared when I came to the terraced section and didn’t come in too fast – no fear of falling off the back of the bike this year. About 5 min past the terraced section, the woman who started behind me passed. :( Unlike last year, I still had enough left to pick up the pace and was determined not to have any other ride pass. In this section, I actually picked off one of the sport men. Once I got to the fire road/bridge section, I still had enough energy to put it in the big ring and really crank, unlike last year where I had nothing left. How much I eat, what and when was a real problem for me last year as evidenced by all the bonking. I’m trying to pay more attention to that and one of the lectures at the LUNA summit really helped. In my quest to not gain weight, I wasn’t eating enough before (or even during) a race. This race wasn’t long enough to eat during (only 40 min) so I’ll still need to experiment with that in future races. But so far, so good.
I still need to work on my head, though. How was it possible I forgot it was a time trial? I kept thinking I just didn’t want the women behind me to pass me (I started first) but totally forgot it wasn’t a typical XC race. I definitely could have cut at least another 30 sec had I been thinking that and pushed a little harder. Doh!
Anyway, turned in a time that was approximately 5 min faster than last year (10% improvement) which was good enough for 2nd place and a sweet pair of Smith sunglasses. A nice way to kick off the season.
It turned out to be a beautiful morning for racing. I got to the park on the early side of early to pre-ride the course because I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable keeping the gas pedal pressed down if I didn’t know what was coming up around the bend. I wasn’t planning on pre-riding the entire course at first, but at some point I decided that turning around was a more unpleasant option than finishing out the seven miles so by the end it was getting on toward 9am, I hadn’t picked up my number yet and I needed to shed some layers so I was riding hard for the finish. As it turned out the sport women’s start was pushed back until after 10am which left plenty of time for warmed up and sweaty to turn into chilled and sluggish. Lesson learned for next year!
I had thought going in that I’d be able to catch sight of the rider who went off 30 seconds in front of me if not catch her. That didn’t happen (she came in 1st for our category). And I was fairly certain that my ‘cross nemesis Allison K of MRC who went off after me was going to catch me and I wanted to hold her off at least until the drops-offs at mid course. That didn’t happen. By the time I had dismounted to run the nasty log/uphill rock garden/stream/mud section she was on my tail and by 200 yards past it she was “on my left”. I can’t say that I was really upset by this because she became my rabbit for the next 4 miles.
I hung on to Allison’s wheel like my life depended on it which meant riding harder/faster/smarter than last year and I was feeling surprisingly well until my legs gave out unexpectedly. I’ve never gotten to the point that my legs actually hurt while riding before….sore, but not actual pain. It felt like my thigh muscles were being rung out like a wet rag. It was weird and I didn’t know what to do about it so I stopped, got off the bike and stretched until I could move them again. I never saw Allison again. Cleaning out the car this afternoon I was surprised to see how much Gatorade was left in my bottle. I was most likely dehydrated. Another lesson learned.
I think my finishing time was around 48 min 50 seconds which overall wasn’t so hot but I got in 14 miles of good, hard riding and had a lot of fun.. I hear Teri rode the waist-high log in the first half of the course (sick!). I on the other hand, took one look at it, saw visions of myself in a full-body cast and got off the bike. I’ll have to work on the “guts” factor this season…less thinking, more riding!