Monday, May 15, 2006
It wasn't my first race of the year, but it was certainly one of the fastest. I'm talking about the local challenge, Ride the Lightning in Cortez, CO.
This race lives up to its name. Ex-world cup champions, top ten mountain bike pros and regional race winners come every year to hammer Phil's World. Shadowed by Mesa Verda, the course runs through the local mesas and twisty singletrack. The ride/race comes complete with multiple options for serious air and serious speed.
I was excited to take this race opportunity to see how my legs would handle the speed and intensity of racing with the likes of riders like Ned Overend, Greg Lewis, Miles Venzara and Peter Kenyon of Paragon Sports in Telluride, CO. Furthermore, I am preparing for my first Mountain States Cup race of the season in Angel Fire, so this race would be a valuable fitness gauge.
My race started off with total carnage. After the road sprint, we hit the singletrack. When I say, "WE", I mean all of us, at the same time hit this singletrack. It was madness. Cranks were bumping into legs, tires hit tires, someone pushed me UP the trail, people were smacked together like five-o-clock traffic. Call it early season racing; we should have known better. After the ruckus, no one had time to settle in. It was sprint time all over again.
I pushed it into high gears and took off with the second pack. We descended the first technical portion of the race, crossed the road through a culvert and headed into the Phil's World portion of the race. Now, it was serious race time.
The beginners and sport classes were to complete a 15-mile loop. The experts and pros were to complete a 26-mile loop. Needless to say, it was that extra 10 miles that put the hurt on my legs. The course was so fast that a lot of riders blew up on the flats. I passed a couple of pros that were stuck with flats and bike problems, too. In the end, I think I did well placing 9th in the pros (even though, officially, I'm a semi-pro).
The post race meal was not to be missed. I gave it my all with hoads of Turkey Tetrazini and Spaghetti noodles and red sauce. Lotsa Pasta in Cortez, CO hooked it up with this free and much needed meal.
Overall, the Ride the Lightning is a one of a kind race in Cortez, CO. I will have it on my tick list from this point on! Oh, one more thing, I raced the following day on foot in Durango. I placed 4th in the Telegraph 10K at 38.02 (hill central).