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Chickasaw Trace Classic

Team Bikeman - Race Reports

ImageThe course was three laps of mostly fast single track and the conditions were perfect hardpack. Definitely the fastest course and one of the most enjoyable I have ever raced. The speed was a little sketchy because the course is far from being straight forward. There were plenty of obstacles including downed logs, rocky sections, short steep climbs, and the usual rutted and rooty sections that make this a true classic mountain bike course. A big issue was power with lots of sharp turns that come out of nowhere requiring hard braking and quick acceleration to get back up to speed.

ImageThe race took off at a furious pace with the former pro Chad Hungeford leading the charge. I fought for a good position going into the singletrack and entered the woods in about 7th place. After about 15 minutes of hammering at high speeds I started looking at my heart rate which was holding at near my redline. Knowing that I probably would not be able to sustain this for 30 miles I decided to try to hang onto the lead group anyway. I hoped things would ease up a bit. The pace stayed fast and after about 30 minutes on the course the group of 5 which I was struggling to maintain contact with started to pull away. On being dropped I blew up mentally and physically. The next lap was tough, I felt awful, was steadily being passed by riders from behind, and as any racer knows this is quite demoralizing. By the end of the second lap I was starting to find my rhythm again and was mentally focused on enjoying a fast ride on a fantastic course. Before I knew it I was catching riders again and steadily built enough speed in the third and final lap to pass several riders before the finish. I crossed the line at 2:06 in 10th place wishing for another lap. It felt great to finish strong after a devastating second lap.

I am off to the Sea Otter Classic next week. Should be fun!

Eric

Photos by: Lisa Paysen
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