Sugarbottom Scramble 2010 & Stuff

It has not been a month since my last post!  Yipee, blogger of the year that is me.  But let me explain.  No, there is too much, let me sum up.

I have been sick the last few days.  We took a trip to Chicago (like fer real, not the suburbs) last weekend.  I got the XTR brakes all figured out on the Salsa.  I have over 360 miles on the MASI cross bike now.  I rode the Salsa 3 times at Sugarbottom in one week, 2 of which were races!  I’ll just tell you about those rides how about?

There was a time trial at the trails on a Wednesday.  I rode out with Mathias.  We registered and had time so we pre-rode the course.  Mathias led, dropped me, waited for me, dropped me, etc.  He told me maybe my new brakes were working a little too well!  Hilarious.  I do think it was the first time I had been out there all year…  We started at 30 sec intervals, I was 10th, with Nate Kulbom right behind me, so I figured to get passed in a hurry.  He did not disappoint!  I labored around, got passed by a couple more people and got my time as about 24 minutes.  No idea how that placed me as the times got screwed up but I was pretty sure I stunk.

But I was happy to have gone mountain biking again, and on the Wednesday before the Scramble, too.  It was in my best interests to get to the trails again before the big day.  So I got up early on Saturday to ride to the trails and do a full lap of the course.  I had not ridden any of the north side trails and it was good to get a taste of them.

To the Scramble, then!  I rode out again, a nice warm up indeed.  Got to roll a bit with the Rock Lobster who was heading out to watch.  I got registered for the Sport Open category, dropped off the 30¢ schwag prizes and cruised around.

Photo Jordan Hanson

Rode all 24 pounds of the Salsa, geared 32 x 17.  We got staged up and for once at a mountain bike race I was near the front, second row.  They said go and we charged down the gravel road.  I was back a bit, but when the road tilted up I kept on top of my gear and turned into the singletrack in 3rd wheel, behind Nick and Doug.

Photo cred

I was a bit blown from the effort off the line, so gave them a bit of space and recovered a bit before reeling them in.  We had 2 laps and I was happy to be where I was at this point.  Halfway through the southside trails Doug biffed it so I found myself in second.  I was not too keen to lead this early but after a time I offered to Nick to come around and he said sure.  So there I was, totally winning and stuff.  I kept it rolling pretty well, riding much better than the TT for sure!  We popped out on the road and I maintained the lead into the next section of trail, but when we popped out to the road again a guy with gears went flying by.  I did not mind.  Kept riding, with Geoff right behind me and nobody behind him for a ways, and we had some good yucks.  He passed me on cyclocross hill, which he rode while I had to jump off, and I was in third.

Photo Jordan Hanson again

We continued this way until the road again, and on that climb I again came by him to keep my gear rolling.  We kept plugging away, I was really starting to feel the gear now, and I kept offering to Geoff to come around but he kept declining.  We got caught by a guy from Rassmussens, he was flying by us!  But once past he just hung out there.  We finished the south side and on the gravel road again we could see both of the guys in front of us, they were not far up.  Geoff hollered, “They’re right there!”, shifted and drilled it.  I was screwed.

I watched Geoff dance up to those guys, checked back and settled in for my last half lap.  Shortly after reentering the woods I caught the guy who had passed me way back in the first lap, he had a mechanical but was just hopping back on.  He quickly dusted me.  I knew at this point that I would just keep checking back and try not to crash and just ride it in.  And that is what I did, for 4th place.  My previous best result here was 5th so I was pleased, but top 3 were state champ medals so I was sad.  After I stopped hacking and feeling like crap I had a couple of beers, a few laughs, declined many offers for rides back to town in cars, and rode my bike home.  A good day on the bike and a good week on the trails!

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