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Tiger Rag XC AMBC

Team Bikeman - Race Reports



ImageThe course is a moderately fast 28 miles spread out over 3 laps of mostly singletrack. The start is at the bottom of the final climb to the finish. So, you get to do the toughest climb in the course 4 times as a little bonus. Most racers absolutely hate this climb as it is on a rather wide logging road and it gets hot with full sun exposure. The expert race started at 12:30 and the forecast was for the mid to upper 80's. This was by far the hottest race of the season so far and temperature definitely became a factor. This year in training I have repeatedly attacked this climb and have learned to hate it on another level.

ImageThe first lap was in my usual fashion as of late, not great. I struggled to maintain my 7th place position and wasn't feeling especially good about it. By the middle of lap two, roughly an hour into the race, I was starting to build and noticed that the riders in front of me were beginning to tire. I sat in behind two guys through the technical singletrack leading into the big climb at a pace that was definitely on the slow side for me at this point. ImageI took the opportunity to recover a little so that I could put in a strong effort on the big hill. My plan worked out beautifully. I passed both riders, opened up an nice gap before the top of the climb, and entered the familiar home-course singletrack with nothing in front of me to hold me back. I continued to roll fast through the course with all the adrenalin of a fantastic second wind and put forth maximal efforts in the sections that I new would do the most damage to the competition. A third of the way through the final lap I caught a glimpse through the trees of the rider who had bumped me off the podium last year. ImageI was gaining on him steadily and used the home course advantage to quickly close the gap and overtake him. With half a lap left to go I knew he would still be a danger on the final climb so I hammered hard to get the biggest gap possible. I suffered greatly on the last climb and hit my highest heart rate of the race on the steepest section 400 yards from the finish. I wasn't about to get taken from behind again! I rolled through the finish in 4th place with a comfortable gap and very happy to finally get on the podium in an expert AMBC! Fellow teammate Jesse Stevens came down from WV and completed an impressive two laps on a single speed to win the single-speed category. All in all it was a great day for team Bikeman!

Many thanks to all the friends who cheered their heads off to make me go faster. It really helped!

Eric

Photos by: Lisa Paysen
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