RACE REPORT: Wednesday At Wakefield #4

it has been nearly a week since the last Wednesday at Wakefield
this puts the race memories into a bit of a blur
let me see what I can recall...

if the results were up... if there were images
well... these things would help words to surface

apparently PVC is not as excited about posting the results as we are about downloading the results

RACE REPORT: Wednesday At Wakefield #4

race four at Wakefield was very similar to races one, two, and three
I arrived early with my boys Dean and Grant... got them registered... got them to the start line
cheered for them and then after their race I got them settled in so I could get ready for my race

racing always involves a certain level of anxiety
this final race of the four race series carried a little more weight...
which by proxy brought along additional anxiety

last year at W@W I went up against Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes for the series in the Clydesdale class
I think I won three and had a flat keeping me from finishing the fourth race... keeping me from scoring any points... thus... getting second in the series... granting Scott Young his goal of beating me by scoring more points and winning the series

so... this year I was aiming to avoid mechanicals
which made for some white knuckle finger crossing

trying not only to win the series... but trying to SWEEP THE SERIES
to make this happen I needed to finish ahead of Scott Young on all four races
to place first in all four races

again I arrived with the Single Speed
each week doubting that the Jamis Exile 29er with its single cog was the best bike for the job
yet... until I get a new cassette for the Rip Nine... the Jamis Single Speed is my only dirt option
so... I was forced to run my 32 X 18 against Clydesdales on geared bikes

having the boys home for the week allowed for an easy approach
our day was moderately mellow as we laid low and tried to dodge the heat as best we could
we arrived early enough for a little warm up on the bike before the 5:30 kids race
I rode the course with young Grant as Dean chased his way into second place in the 10 and Under Category

the effort by each of my boys made me proud

this being the fourth week of Wednesday at Wakefield my boys were pretty well established in their routine
they knew where the race course was and they knew the basic sphere where they could venture
the notion of sticking together and looking out for each other was reinforced and I was on my way
a quick warm up before taking the line

back to the car and into my DCMTB racing kit
then down to the registration table to make sure that they had logged my number which I had to check my number plate to remember
when verifying that they had my race number I glanced to see how many Clydesdales would be racing
the list was short... which was no real issue... I saw Scott Young's name and knew that there would be a race

just a few pedal strokes into my warm up and I saw him... Scott Young... my Clydesdale competition who has become my friend
a byproduct of friendly competition

Scott Young and I exchanged hellos

hard to know what Scott is feeling... my guess his emotions are similar to mine
excited to see the other and know that there is a race
while also feeling a little bit of dread in seeing the other knowing that that there is going to be a race
each of us more than likely knowing that the day would be easier without the presence of the other

as I pedaled back from my quick warm up I saw the release of the Experts
which had me realizing I best get to the line myself

at the line I accessed the competition
there was one unfamiliar face in an unfamiliar kit in the group
it was a set of fresh legs of unknown strength
Scott and I exchanged words about the unknown element among us

with the race about to happen right in front of us I knew that all questions were soon to be answered

each of the classes were released and then we took to the line and waited for the countdown for our release

the words go rang out like the sound of a bell for a heavyweight boxing match
a three round boxing match
a boxing match that would prove to be a bruiser from start to finish

once again I had an awkward start
the easy gear of the single speed did not send me forward as fast as the geared bikes around me
at the base of the short steep hill with its deep gravel I was scrapping to hang onto Scott Young's wheel
searching for a fast line in the hard packed gravel I faded left nearly cutting off the the unfamiliar form with the fresh legs
in an effort to be a good sport I went back to my line of loose gravel apologizing to the unfamiliar form for nearly cutting him off from his line

wanting to be the first into the singletrack I fought gravity and muscled my bike and my body up the hill
three quarters of the way up the short sprint of a hill I was along side of Scott Young
as I crested the hill onto the maintenance road I was in first place
I smiled as I heard Scott Young exclaim, "SHIT!"

it had seemed that Scott was going to win the climb and maybe beat me to the singletrack
on the gravel maintenance road I pedaled vigorously as so not to lose the advantage I had worked so hard to gain

there is something about being the first person into the singletrack
a mental advantage and a strategic advantage
being the first person onto the singletrack I slowed my pedal stroke and tried to slow my heart rate
since there is no reasonable place to pass I controlled the pace
allowing my fellow Clydesdales to queue up behind me
allowing myself to regain my breath

I wanted to try and control the race from the front
rather than getting stuck in the position of CHASE

down the hill... hairpin right turn on loose dusty singletrack... across the creek on the man made rock bridge... towards the woods on the board walk and the cobble stones
as I took the turn into the woods I tried to accelerate forward
with the set of tires being powered by those fresh legs of the unfamiliar racer I tried to push the pace

my effort was matched

there had not been much time on the bike since the Wakefield race two weeks prior
maybe some time trying to understand the unicycle
not much else... maybe a road ride... and then a spin at Rosaryville
but no real biking to speak of
especially in the beach filled days prior to this day

the legs were feeling it... I did not like the tightness in my legs so early on
I feared cramping as I was getting some sensation in my legs on lap one that I would not normally feel until lap three

I tried to control the race from the front
trying to get speed where I could while recovering when I could
I accelerated out of the woods onto each long straight flat section and tried to spin things such so that I could not be over taken by the geared bikes behind me
yet not spin so much that I burned my legs out too soon

when the trail doubled back on itself I tried to get an idea of where racer two and racer three were in comparison to me
I think by the time we were half way through lap one Scott Young managed to get in front of the fresh unfamiliar legs and catch up within a turn of me
by the tail end of the lap Scott Young was in my shadow

Scott Young and I started lap two together
with Scott Young in my shadow I worked the course pretty hard
pushing my body pretty hard... trying to see if I could shake the racers behind me


I attacked each section
attacking each section as an attack on Scott Young
making aggressive yet friendly passes when passes needed to be made
it intrigued me that I passed some of the Sport Women later in the course than usual
when I felt that the momentum of this week was faster than the weeks prior

out into the open area beneath the powerlines I tried to recover
knowing that the geared bike had an advantage here I thought that I would relax for a second
slow the pace and save the racing for the final lap
then I heard a voice... "ON YOUR LEFT"

it was Scott Young... I had not looked back... yet foolishly I had thought he was further back
without so much as a glance I was out of the saddle and spinning hectically
apologizing for spacing out
admitting that I thought he was further back
letting him know that I would prefer just racing the final lap than all the miles leading up to it

we worked the rest of the lap in tandem
I was pleased to be in front of him
the climb to the powerlines can be a tough one on the Single Speed... good chance that Scott could climb it faster without me setting the pace in front of him
then the berm section known as PHASE THREE it was good to be in front of him because I am not the most fast and most fluid on these BMX style turns... so again... by being in front I was able to dictate the pace

as we crossed the marker of LAP TWO TO LAP THREE I could feel Scott Young trying to make an aggressive pass
voices cheered my name... more voices cheered Scott Young's name
the effort of the Underdog was getting noticed
I smiled inside thinking that we had an exciting last lap in front of us

it was a tough place to attempt the pass
my pace was good... I only had to increase my pace a bit and maintain my placement on the trail and Scott Young was forced to fall back in line behind me

lap three went on pretty much like lap one and two
we slugged it out pretty good
going what felt to be faster and harder than the weeks prior we rocked the course
taking the turns with aggression and passion rather than flowing with finesse

on this lap on each pass I requested passing space for two
rather than trying to use the racers from other classes as blockers
I wanted Scott Young to have the chance to fight me to the finish instead of getting tangled in a crash with a racer from another category

I tried to race smart knowing that sliding out on a turn could be enough for Scott Young to take the lead space forcing me to chase
it is a tough balance to try and max it out and not over cook things

I thought about the course and tried to make good use of the Single Speed where it had its advantages and then worked extra hard on the long flat straight sections where the Single Speed is at a disadvantage

it was the usual cat and mouse
I would break free of having Scott Young in my shadow
then... just when I was feeling I could relax... Scott Young would reel me in
there was no letting up

it was the last lap of the four race series
it was all going to come down to the final mile
whoever won this race would leave smiling
if Scott Young won he would have the satisfaction of beating me
while if I won I would have the satisfaction of the clean sweep and the assertion of my being the consistently faster race... at least on this course

I did not let up...
it was not pretty
my body was fatigued
I muscled my way up each climb and thrusted through each turn

fatigued I thought about how much course was left and how much gas was in the tank
I was running on empty
I had to dip into my reserves
it was clear that I would leave it on the course

I worked hard on the last climb
I worked real hard
not allowing the disadvantage of the Single Speed to express itself
after the effort on the climb I descended down the berms in a less than glorious fashion

I was pretty close to spent
yet I knew that I had to maintain the power
I could not risk letting Scott Young get into my shadow again

I regained composure and tried to find the right line on the berms
while trying to just stay on the trail
it would have been real easy to crash
through the creek and back into the woods I grinned knowing that I had a little gap on Scott Young and the rest of the Clydesdales
I took the last set of turns with pleasure knowing that the series would be mine

there had been no broken chains
there had been no flat tires
the bike had held up

although there was some tightness there had been no cramping
the race intensity was such that it was tough to refuel during the race
somehow the body was able to hold up without any snacking or hydration to speak of

ah... satisfaction
ah... relief
ah... closure

it was good

the series delivered all the competition and camaraderie that I have come to expect from the DC Metro area summer mountain bike training series known as Wednesday at Wakefield

it was a pleasure to get to line up and race with Scott Young and so many others
it was a joy to see my children so excited to be involved in the Trips for Kids-Trails for Youth races at Wednesday at Wakefield

good times for sure!

I crossed the line and did not pedal much further
my boys Dean and Grant were there to greet me
not far behind me was Scott Young and then the unfamiliar form and his fresh legs

congratulations were shared among the competitors

good times for sure
another set of memories created at Potomac Velo Club's Wednesday at Wakefield