Friday, May 16, 2008

Brialee Ramblin' Rumble Mtb Race Report

Since uber-blogger Thom (no I’m not linking his page because I have no time and no knowledge, I'm actually just hoping this post shows up in some not-horribly-disfigured way) has not got to it yet, I figured I’d write up a quick report on this. Sorry: no pictures. This past weekend (May 11) saw the IBC mountain bike crew back down in Connecticut for the Brialee Ramblin’ Rumble. Not as idyllically pastoral as it sounds. I had mixed feelings about the course: this is the fourth time I’ve been to Brialee, and the course seems to have morphed from a pleasant wooded trail to a rutted, eroded ATV scar; otoh, it’s still a blast to ride. So, onto the riding. This week the crew was Linnea, Colin, Thom, and me (did I miss anyone?)

I got to the race course later than ideal, like, maybe 40 mins before the start. This didn’t faze me too much though, as I barely have enough in the tank to finish these races, let alone warm up. When you combined all of the expert women (I was racing expert women 35+), along with the pro/semi-pros we start with, we had a decently big field, maybe 16 or so. (I only combine numbers for the purposes of feeling good about having many women on the start line; I then make a clean and absolute distinction with the pros, since they are much faster than me.) My new-found strategy is not to go out ridiculously hard and blow up within five minutes -- after several years racing, I’ve reached this novel conclusion. This meant that I saw Linnea for approximately 30 seconds before she left me in the dust (or was it mud?), next to be seen at the water hose after the race.

The course, as I said, was essentially a rutted out ATV course. But it had fast berms, sketchy bridge crossings, at least if taken at speed, morasses of mud, several small rock gardens, and these especially fun sections where all you could see was an expansive brown pond, with who knew what beneath? My strategy there was to go as fast as I dared, hold on tight, and pray. That didn’t always work. My race went decently well anyway, I think better than last year, though I never made a completely clean lap. I’m pretty sure I rode everything clean at least once though. I ended up 4/7 in my group (we had a couple of DNFs just to make my results look worse, but I was ahead of them anyway, honest).

I consulted the boys’ voluminous blogs and while I may not have read every word I think everyone enjoyed the course. Thom had a smokin' fast race (despite my best efforts to derail him when he passed me) and ended up 2nd in the PRO men, which came down to a “sprint” (such as one sprints on single-speed mtbs) finish. Linnea won her (expert young chicks) race handily and also, I’m glad to note, beat my nemesis (I am about 1/15 in beating her myself, so it’s best if Linnea does it for me). Colin had an awesome race but for the fact that he had to run some large portion of it for mechanical reasons, but still ended up about halfway through the young expert men.

Next up: Gloucester Grind or Coyote Hill.


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