Written by Andrew Farrell Saturday, 08 July 2017 00:00
This was my 3rd year racing Whiteface. While many attend with an eye towards Leadville, I was here just to race and try and improve on my previous times. Weather for the race was already improved from last year when a steady light rain endured throughout the race. This year temps were cool but not cold and the roads and trails were dry. Already looking up!
Up would be the theme of the day- the course remained virtually unchanged from years past, with only some slight variations in the singletrack towards the end. The opening miles of mostly flat entirely paved road riding led to the first climb on Bartlett road and the first real separation in the field. Knowing I needed to keep myself in check, I rode my own race. I tried to stay steady on the climbs and rail the descents which I was able to maintain throughout the day. My Hei Hei is built up with a 120 Pike and wide rims which suits my less than awesome climbing ability but allows me to be aggressive going down. As always the bike was awesome- can't say enough good things about it and can't wait to see what Kona does with these for 2018!
At the turn around I met up with NH friend Regina Legge and we basically leap frogged for the rest of the race- she'd routinely drop me on the climbs and I would reliably catch her on the descents, not surprising given our 50+ pound weight differential. On the return climb up Jay Mountain we had a good group of 5-7 riders all working together, most of whom stayed together until I cracked on the Lacy Rd climb. I bypassed the bacon aid station (big mistake) and prodded on, with only a faint hint of cramps at the bottom of Lacy. Exiting Bartlett and into the singletrack I was momentarily stuck behind the leading tandem riders who were not moving quickly in the woods, to say the least. Exiting the Hardy Rd trails I bonked and bonked hard. Thus far I'd been fueling solely on sports drink which in hindsight could've used some supplementation. Viewing the power graph from the race, the bonk is evident and devastating- just total collapse. I somehow managed to pull it together and finished with a PR of 5:01:01, just nosing in front of Regina at the line.
Whiteface, as always didn't disappoint. What it lacks in technical riding it more than makes up for in elevation, and if nothing else is a great early season test to see where the fitness is. Maybe one of these years I'll have Leadville in my sights but until then I will keep returning. Big shout out to Kona, Stages, Schwalbe and of course Bikeman for all the support!