Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wildcat beating, Dropped Chain

         This past weekend's race was SuperPro Racing's NCCX #3, Stafford Lake Wildcat, in Navato, the location of a new bike park currently under construction.

Photo From:
Stafford Lake Bike Park trails started
         The weather was just about perfect for the Men's B race with the series late start time of 3:00 pm, and the course was fast, bumpy, and dry after a storm two days before. From the start was gravel fire road leading to a left over a bridge and a hard right followed by a short straight to get speed for a steep hill/stairs. The course winded down the hill from the top of the stairs via a few off camber straight sections, small quick punches up and with sharp descents, and a hard off camber fading left leading into a quick fading right around a disc golf tie slab. After the descent the course would pick up speed down a "smooth" fire road into a hard headwind, before heading towards the lake and long, fast, but extremely bumpy back stretch, including a barrier to slow the field. Shortly after the first barrier was a tight right left chicane leading to the final fast section starting with a short stint on pavement, before heading onto dirt, over a few roots, over two barriers and a "Belgium farm wall" before the lap marker, and another bumpy section and the start line.

Photo By: Samantha Smallwood
Chris Seymour hopping over the "Belgium farm wall"
         I was on my way to staging when they were just finishing call ups, missed my call up, but the field allowed me to head up to the front row to take my spot. A good starting spot was needed with the hard climb so close to the start, and not wanting to be in the back of the pack for it.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Eric Stocker leading out the Mens Open B race.

         I slotted in 4th at the start charging down the fire road, would take the left side and push hard for the whole shot, but Eric Stocker would narrowly take the whole shot, and lead the field up the hill with myself in second. I had practiced the hill in warm ups trying to find the speed and gear combination to make it up, but on the first lap I would not make it and have to run up the last 10 feet, not loosing much time on Eric, and slightly holding up the field behind me.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Bryan Cheung and Chris Seymour practicing the hill
         After making it to the top of the hill I quickly caught Eric and held his wheel until we made it to the fire road. With a quick burst I would pass him and start putting an effort into the headwind, Eric Stocker would hold my wheel for the rest of the first lap, where we were had made a 20 second gap on the strong single speed racer (on a geared bike this week), Bryan Cheung.

Photo By: Mark Seymour
Eric Stocker bonking in the back ground
         After staying with me for the first lap and both of us making the hill on the second, Eric Stocker started to bonk after the descent allowing me to build my lead substantially going into the third lap, around 30 second at the top of the hill on the third lap. Shortly after making it up the hill I had a mechanical issue, my chain dropping on the outside of the cranks like at Ft. Ord earlier in the season. I would have to get off and yank/pull it free which erased my lead, bring it down to around 5 seconds. For the next few lap Dave Mongan, and Lee Slone would be close on me, I would have just enough left in the tank to hold off attacked between the high speed barrier pavement for two laps, before the bell lap. 
Photo By: Mark Seymour
         Going into the bell lap Lee (on a mtb bike) had passed Dave, and was charging hard, so after cross the farm wall I attacked as hard as I could to build a gap knowing if i could making it down the descent first I had a good chance at holding him off on the pedaling sections all the way to the finish. Charging hard on the hill making it for the 4th of 6 times in the race allowed me to focus on keeping my chain on and two wheels underneath me for the descent. I made it down first. But, Lee was clos e on to my wheel and would attack on the long stretch toward the barrier, I believe getting with in a second or two. Countering his attack, I would take to much speed into the chicane taking out a little tape before turning onto the pavement and giving it all I had after just under 45 minutes. As I came off the pavement and crossed the roots, my chain would bounce off to the inside. I tried, but could not get it back on causing me to have to run about 20 yards before hopping over farm wall, and running towards the finish, and remounting with a dropped chain to roll across the finish, taking the win. 
Photo By: Mark Seymour
Mens Open B Podium
Lee Slone, Chris Seymour, Dave Morgan
         This would be my 4th win of the season, and first of the NCCX series, putting me in the lead of the NCCX point after 3/5 races , with 111 point only 4 points ahead of Superpro Racing's own Aaron Spinddell

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