Friday, May 16, 2014

Race to the River

The whole Slippery Sasquatch team headed down to Columbia, SC for the Maxxis Southern Classic series race at Harbison State Forest for the annual Race to the River. This race is also part of the South Carolina State Championship. I really like this race because of how hard it is. You wouldn't think it was tough being in Columbia. Most people think it's flat down there. A good amount of it is, but there is a surprising amount of climbing in the middle of the Race to the River course.

Jack, Layla, Jon and Mike getting ready for the start

I had just raced the Maxxis Southern Classic race at Dark Mountain the previous weekend. After a hard fought third place last week,  I felt ready to take a win at Harbison. The tough thing at Harbison is that there is no rest at all. Your on the gas the entire time. It's basically a few small climbs at the start followed by a very long flat section. After the first long flat section there are a bunch of techy climbs followed by another long flat section before a fire road climb at the end. 

The race starts and I pull the hole shot. As I climb up the first hill I actually back off a little to let Corbitt get around me. Even though there is a full field of about 10 guys, Corbitt won last week at Dark Mountain and is my big competition this week. My strategy is to ride his wheel on the first flat section, then hope I can hold on during the climb, and eventually try and drop him on the last flat section of lap one. Then I'll have to hoof it on the second lap, which is actually a shortened lap - they cut out all the climbing in the middle on lap 2. My thought process is that Corbitt is much better on the climbs, but I can smash him wattage wise on the flats. Turns out I was right about both. I stick to his wheel like glue and I'm only pushing tempo pace on the flats. I also realize on the single track that I'm a better bike handler. Problem is, we get to the hill section and I can't keep up. He gaps me and I'm blowing up trying to keep him in sight. He has 7 seconds on me for a while, then 10, then I hold him at 15 for 10 minutes or so, and by the time we are done with the majority of climbing I can't see him anymore. I hammer super hard on the flat section thinking I'll catch him. I keep seeing riders up ahead hoping it's him. As I get closer it always ends up being someone in the class in front of me. I pass rider after rider and no Corbitt in sight. As I finish lap one and start lap 2 I start to realize that I'm spent. It hits me like a ton of bricks and every 5 minutes or so I'm getting slower. I'm cooked and there is no way to fix it now. I start wishing I had one of those electric bikes:

Maybe I could of caught Corbitt on this?

The guys I caught earlier are now catching me. No big deal they aren't even in my class, but I had better back off and save some energy in case the guy in my class that is in third place catches me. I never saw Corbitt again until after the race. Lucky for me third never caught me as I had slowed to a crawl by the end. The last coulple of miles were all attitude, all I wanted to do is stop and collapse. After finishing I damn near passed out at the car. Like I said, this race is tough. 20 miles at race pace always sucker punches me at Harbison. The rest of the team all did great - just finishing this torture fest was a big accomplishment. 

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