The Folsom CycIebration is an incredible event. Sea Otter-esque in it’s organization and event options complete with Tour de France style stage race competition. The MTB omnium consisted of a 5-mile TT, 7-mile short track cross country (dirt crit) course and a killer cross country race course of 15 miles.
Gary Young and I had one of the best weekends of racing possible bringing home seven medals between us:
Gary had four golds with a sweep of all three events. I had, well, you’ll read how that panned out by staying tuned!
This was Gary’s first competitive MTB event after having only been in the sport for two years. He was riding extremely well going into the event, and I was really looking forward to seeing him race.
Friday he had a great TT ride beating his nearest competitor by a full minute. The short track race at Willow Springs was won with a margin of 2:13 secs, and the cross country race was the hat trick with a winnng margin of 4:17 secs. Complete and total domination. That’s how we INTEGRATE on the MTB’s!
And then he wanted me to do his laundry.WHAT!! Say it ain’t so GareBear. You just thanked me helping you train, and then you want me to carry your shoulder pads?? Sadness is what filled my heart. Actually Gary was one of the most gracious winners I’ve ever seen, all clas.
But he still wanted me to get his laundry, I’m just sayen….
He had an incredible weekend for his first time racing, and he said he can’t wait to do it again. Which is good, because we are teaming up for a relay race on Oct 25!
I wish I could say that my weekend was as smooth as Gary’s and that I sailed into the end of the 3rd stage with hands held high crossing the finish line in first. Unfortunately Jason Fator and Aaron Obelleiro (he’s now a member, drop him a note and say “hi.”) had the final say in that. And they said “NOPE!” Go back to the Peninsula and train harder Mr VeloReviews Fitness Editor guy!”
The weekend started with a 6th place finish in the TT because of three rather large tactical mistakes: not riding a technical shortcut because there was a rider in front of me, not passing said rider fast enough and a bad line decision resulting in a crash. When I went to bed Friday, I thought the weekend GC possibilities were done with my seat in coach in 6th place, and I was left with shooting for a top five finish at best.
But hey, at least Gary had an awesome experience in his first race gaining a ton of confidence. So I took that as the positive for the day because I was psyched for him.
But, when I woke up Saturday morning, I had been upgraded to 5th in GC and was now only four points out of first with two races to go! At this point, it was finish at least third in the STXC race, and at least third in the XC race, and I had a shot at the final overall podium.
Well, the bronze came on Saturday after a bad start left me battling from the back of the pack to the front end on laps two and three (vomit comet was almost my mode of transportation, closes I’ve come yet!) to gut it out and fight my way I to 3rd. The medal placed around my neck wasn’t gold, but it was as good of a moral victory as I’ve had in a long time. One goal down, one to go sitting in third place in GC on Saturday night.
Turns out the guy who won Saturday’s race wasn’t able to ride the TT Friday, so all I had to do was finish higher than the guy in front of me in GC in the XC race, and I was taking home a medal!! My legs felt stronger and stronger as the weekend went on, and when I woke up Sunday morning, I was liking my chances for a good day.
So, at the end of stage 2, I was within striking distance of not only bronze, but potentially silver overall. This is where Aaron and Jason factor in. They made the XC race one of the best tests of my pain tolerance I’ve ever had.
When the race started I wheel sucked like a barnacle on a tug boat, and did not let these two gents out of my site. I didn’t care what happened, I was taking Friday’s bad tactics, Saturday’s bad start and using that to fuel my effort Sunday morning. It wasn’t easy because these two guys have a TON of giddyup.
Well that strategy was working well, until my chain suddenly became allergic to my big ring.
As mass amounts of “thoughts” shall we say came to my head, the only choice was to spin the highest cadence I could in the biggest gear the middle ring would give me and ride as fast as possible. Think Mr Scott telling James Tiberious Kirk “I CAN’T GIVE ‘ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR ANYMORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRE KIPTIN!!”
So, sans the big ring for the last lap and a half pedaling like a mad man, I somehow get off the front. This put me in a pretty good mood, for a ton of reasons. But it was a BRIEF trip.
Jason gets shot out of a canon zomming right by me leaving me to wonder a) where the hell had he been up to this point because I didn’t see him, and b) why the hell my Giant Anthem didn’t come with that gear.
After trying to catch him to battle it out for first, I realized without the el ring-o grande, it wasn’t happening and it was a change of tactics to try and secure silver. So at this point, it was ride smart, ride smooth AND GO LIKE HELL!
On the last lap the left quad started to cramp, and then the right hamstring tried to chime in because apparently it was jealous. This made attacking out of the saddle impossible, and it was sit and spin the highest cadence that I could to not lose any ground, and hopefully gain some on the fellas behind me.
And then Keith White handed me the magic bottle that contained nuun and cytomax that somehow flooded my legs with endorphins!
“KIPTIN!!!! I have morrrrrrrrrre dilethium crrrrrrrrrystals for you, and she’s rrrrrrrrrrrready to go!”
Fresh Legs!! More Power. More Speed!!! More, augh man. Seriously? Another guy I thought I’d dropped wasn’t done, and his legs seemed determined to not only tell me mine sucked, but that they were a Pacer to his Ferrari.
WHY CAN’T YOU PEOPLE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET ME RIDE IN FRONT OF YOU!! This didn’t happen in any of those stupid Disney sports movies, HOLLYWOOD FAIL!!
Unfortunately, the rider I was trading body blows with eventually got in the last dig and dropped the hammer on me (like old school Hulk Hogan pile driver hammer) on his way to finishing ahead of me. At this point, I thought “well, I battled back from 6th on Friday to 5th Saturday pre STXC, finished 3rd in that, and have used up my good luck hall pass. At least I’ve got 3rd in the XC race and probably 3rd overall.”
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
The guy that got me at the end, well, it went like this post race:
Al: “Awesome race, great job. What category are you in?”
Al: (GD, FAIL)”30-39?”
Rider: “No, 18-29.”
Al: (inner monolgue) “HOLY CRAP!! WIN!! YAY FOR ME!!”
WHAT???? This guy not only paced me to keep the hammer down at the end to stay ahead of the fellas behind me, but HE WAS IN A DIFFERENT CATEGORY!!! I had finished in 2nd place in the XC race after all!!!! HOLY FOUR LEAF CLOVER BATMAN!!
After some quick “Rainman-esque” math in my head, and I had figured out my medal had just transformed from bronze into silver not only in the XC race, but in the overall GC standings!!!!!
That my friends is HUGE luck, HUGE!! It made the post race burrito tastier. The air smelled better (I on the other hand I however didn’t, se la vi.). The Pepsi was sweeter.
Then it hit me on my last bite as I turned to Gary and said:
“Hey GareBear, do you realize we just ate Mexican food and we now have to put on race cut cycling jerseys for the podium pictures?” Oh boy…
Well the podium shots went well, the clothing didn’t constrict bloodflow after all capping off an incredible weekend, awesome races, fierce competitors (Thanks Jason and Aaron!) and one of the best experiences on the bike I’ve ever had!!