Jun 25, 2007

Buttian Acclimation and Super-D Wins

It hurts. Breathing, riding, looking directly into the sun. I decided to go to the fabled Crested Butte for a go at a shortish XC race. The drive with Eric was about 3hrs of crossing mountain passes and dipping into valleys. These wide expanses with sun on one side and storms on the other reminded me of a college professor, who said it's important to remember that the world is made up of people living in different systems, unaware of each other's weather.
At the turn from Gunnison to the Butte, we see a storm system in the mountains 20miles ahead. Deciding there was no rush, lunch was found at a little deli. Colorado is full of good food and coffee.
CB is situtated in an enclave of mountains, with rolling hills and farmland contrasted by some massive mountain bowls, so the drive in was pretty epic. We kitted up to go for a pre-ride of the 10 mile course. Before leaving the parking lot I'm riding around waiting for Eric, and I ask a guy hows the course. Without hesitating the bitterness dripped out of his mouth formed around the words "It's a terrible course." I ask him what kind of course he does like, and he goes on about something with 45min instead of 15min climbs. This was actually the 3rd person who had some negative comment to make about the course. Which reminded me that cyclist are the biggest bunch of Nancy's. I've never met a group of people who can be so fun but so willing to complain about anything and everything. All that testosterone makes for opinionated people.
So out on the course. Because I was in the biking petri-dish of Crested Butte I had nothing to complain about. It started with a 15 min climb and continued on some beautiful single track over the back of the mountain. Once we were on top there was only one more significant climb, the finish invloved some tight tree runs and uncomfortably fast, rutted single-track through the ski slopes.
With the course scoped out, it was time to head to the Butte to eat. CB has a 27 year old MTB festival, that takes over the town for a week in the summer. Unfortunatly we were a weekend early and missed the chainless downhill race. Fish Taco's and a Burrito later we headed back to the mountain. I stayed with an actual CO native, Seth and his wife Molly.

The race started early so I rode into CB to eat breakfast at about 7am then I got to the line with the other 27 pros 10min before the start. These Mountain State Cup Races draw a stiff competition and there to prove it was Jay Henry, Mike West and Brian so and so from Trek. My plan was to go hard at the start and see what happens. At the top of the climb and in about 9th place I decided that breathing was more important, so the rest of the race was a crawl up the hills and a fox-trot down. I had a good time, came in third from last of the finishers and decided to race the Super-D the next day.
I might get a little s**t from my friends for this but I signed up in the 30+ division, because I hadn't done one before and was on a hardtail. It seemed everyone else had a bike specificaly for that race with lots of travel and big tires. With hind-site I should have done the open-pro division, since my time would have put me in 2nd over-all, 11sec behind winner Mike West. Oh well, it was so much fun, think I'll do another this weekend.