Blog Note: Today’s race report from the Bear Springs Trap Cross Country and Short Track is brought to you by fellow PacificPedaling team member, and wise philosopher, Pat Kudszus. This is a long report he sent in via email…click the more link for the whole article.
We tried getting out of town by 9am. As you know Ellen and I are ALWAYS late except for Bike races. The last stop before I-5 was KING Donuts on State St. Hmmm. I love Donuts.
The Roads were good to us and the Ghetto Music hook-up also worked flawlessly. What I mean by that is running one of those goofy cassette tape things with an ipod but you also need to keep the thing charging while your driving so that’s the extra ghetto part. I know, Shoulda took pics of the wires all over the car but both, Yes, Both camera batteries were dead.
So, we roll Thru Government Camp on our way to the venue and SkiBowl is Covered in Snow. Not really what you want to see when your still heading up the mountain and you’ve got another 30 min. to go…..
We get there and the roads are clear and good. Cruise over to the Registration booth and I can’t help but feel sorry for the volunteers bundled up in Goose Down. However, They seemed happy to be there.
After getting signed in we got on the bikes and pre-rode the Short Track Course. It was Short but had some very tricky sections. Snowy Sections. Nothing too major, just enough to make sure you were Riding with your eyes OPEN!
The race started about 30 minutes later. I pulled up a chair and cracked a beer while Ellen pedalled her butt off. It was only 30 minutes, (Actually about 35) but when was the last time you gave an ALL OUT EFFORT for 30 minutes in 32 degree weather with really Tricky Single Track and Patches of Deep Snow with Tire Tread wide Slits to ride through?!?!
Bottom line was it was tough. However, When you like racing bikes and hanging out with like minded people…That’s just how it is.
Speaking of which, We ran into an Old Friend who Seems to really Like your (PacificPedaling) WebSite. His name is Greg Rice. Greg and his Wife have four Kids and she actually Won her race on Sunday, It was one of the toughest races we’ll see this season and she just had their fourth kid and she Won. Now that’s tough.
Like most serious and dedicated racers we made sure to properly fuel Saturday night, We found ourselves at a place called “The Ratzkeller” Yes. A Bar that Served Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond, (My Favorite). Carb Loading Right? Well, The food wasn’t what we should have had and the Fire Place was spewing out enough smoke to make a scene so maybe the RatzKeller wasn’t the best choice…Live and Learn.
We ended up staying at the “Inn at Mt.Hood.” Not the nicest place but they allowed pets and yes we have a pet.
Nothing like listening to flushing sounds and kids running down the hallway all night long. I was willing to forgive and forget simply due to the fact that I was going to sit in their Hot Tub in the morning before the race. Now picture this, Me, wearing my boardshorts carrying a towel through a hotel at 7pm in the morning only to find a Sign in front of the bubbling water that said “You can’t get into this sweet Hot Tub until 11am”
Let me tell ye, That’s not how you start you day when you’re racin’!
..so I work my way thru the lobby and find myself back at the room. I say “work my way” simply because in the lobby they serve some sort of an “All you can eat” breakfast and I had to weave myself accordingly. Bummed about the Hot Tub than dealing with Hungry people. Still not a good start.
I get to the room and Ellen is getting ready to take Charley on a walk. I look outside and the parking lot is covered in Snow, I laugh. (I did throw the Ice Scraper in the car before we left though!)
The dog gets walked, we eat some Muesli (Jens Voigt’s favorite Pre-Race Meal) and we start to load the car. I still can’t quite figure out WHY we have to haul so much crap. Bike Stands, EZ ups, Shoe Dryers, Clothes and more Clothes (I think I wore the same Jeans and Sweater all weekend…) I guess better be Safe than Sorry?
We get to the venue and it’s packed. What a GREAT turn out considering it’s a race on top of Mt.Hood and all three major Ski areas are still in Full operation. It’s cold but the roads are dry and clear. A lot different than the fresh 2 inches we just left in Government camp.
No Snow. No Rain. Just Sunshine and a lot of smiles.
Because of the Snow issue during the Short Track I decided to buy a roll of Duct Tape at the local Hardware store. I completely sealed the toe boxes of our shoes. We usually wear Neoprine shoe covers or booty’s as they are reffered to but once the booty’s flip over your toes the shoes get exposed. Taping them up with Duct tape can sometimes keep the feet warmer for a little longer. Things you learn the hard way.
We suit up and immediately start saying our Hello’s and How’s it going’s. Mt.Bike races are more like Reunion Parties than anything else.
The race start is coming near and for some reason it’s pretty darn on schedule. Kinda strange but in no way will anyone argue.
In a Mass Start Mountain bike race the Pro’s line up first and than the rest of the categories file in. For this season I’ve decided to race in whatever category I can get the most amount of miles in so I line up with the Cat 1 men. Just behind the Pro’s which is nice because it gives me just a little more time to mingle and bs with old friends. I get a few strange looks from people partly due to the fact that I ride a SingleSpeed and I’m not lined up in the SingleSpeed Category Area but I just quietly let them know that I’m in the right place. Where ever that may be.
I’ve done this race quite a few times and the start usually sucks due to the fact that the race director calls every racers name prior to the start for safety reasons. I understand the need for safety and all but in years past we have stood there waiting in the freezing conditions for over half an hour. Now that’s down right painful. Since he sends us out into the Mt.Hood National Forest the odds of getting lost are pretty significant so he wants to make sure he knows exactly whose heading out. Well, to my surprise this year he had a few of his handymen count us and so we were ready to go in a matter of minutes.
The gun goes off and we b-line it up the black top path, take a hard right turn onto dirt which is a Power Line Double track that gets steeper and steeper and once we are half way up it we dismount and begin running. We crest the top of the first climb, remount, ride and than dismount for our first snow crossing of about 30. These snow fields were short but plenty.
I’d like to go further into detail of the actual race but it’s always a bit of a blur. 30 miles of some of the best NW Single Track around and just under 2hrs and 50 minutes…It’s a bit of a blur.
The bottom line is with the conditions the way they were no injuries were had and I am simply amazed at how well my equipment works. I must have passed at least 20 people with flat tires and my set up has been Bomb Proof. I can’t say enough about Stan’s No Tubes Wheels and Tire Sealant! I won’t race without it. Ellen is also running the same set-up and it has performed flawlessly for every race!
Rolling into the finish area I feel great. I see Ellen jumping for joy but I keep pedaling. I was Parched! but in good spirits. I head straight to the car and crave water not beer. Kinda funny. Get some fluids in me, Half a sandwich and start the “after race chit chat”. I find out she got second place and am totally blown away.(Not that I’m surprised but to have continuous good results? That’s not easy!) What that means to me is the bike was solid and she focused on riding. Ellen has a tendancy of just riding for fun versus riding to win and when she’s out front I know she’s focused. I like the focus! I also couldn’t imagine if she had a mechanical since it’s my duty to make her equipment run flawlessly. I guess that’s why we use the products we do. They work. When your equipment is faced with a challenge like Bear Springs, you need to use the best components available if you want to succeed. Bear Springs is a Brutal race and I/We Love it!
So, I finished 10th. I was shooting for trying to get onto that Bear Springs Podium one more time before I get too old but it just didn’t happen. I guess 9 other riders just wanted “IT” that much more than me. Ellen however ended up in 1st on Saturdays Short track and took 2nd on Sunday for an overall 1st place Womens Cat 2 finish.
Next weekend we’ll be heading out to the town of Blodgett Oregon for one of Oregons Oldest Mountain Bike Races. The MudSlinger!