This was a huge weekend!
Saturday – 12 hour solo MTB race.
Sunday – District 16 Aztalan Harescrambles
Saturday’s MTB race was at Wausau, 9mile forest. I had originally planned to ride the race with Liz. But, I could not make up my mind about what I was going to do, and she got tired of waiting for me to make up my mind. She decided to ride with her friend Kathy, and left me to do it solo. I have never done a solo 12, so why not?
Liz and I went up on Friday with the trailer. We met Kathy there, and set up our camp. I needed to instruct Liz and Kathy about tearing down the trailer at the end of the race, as I would not be staying the 2nd night.
We set up camp and found our friends that were doing the race as well. We all sat around the campfire drinking beer and telling stories. Great fun.
Race morning dawned a nice day. That would stick around for quite some time, but the weather would not stay nice for the whole day.
The course was 14 miles around, with about 2/3 of it being singletrack and the rest double track. There we really just 3 really technical sections and 4 significant climbs. On your first lap, the technical sections were not too tough and the climbs were all taken out of the saddle attacking in the middle ring. Later in the race, the climbs were just something to get through. Sort of a milestone along the way “one climb down, 3 to go. Only 2 more rock sections – and so on.”
My first 2 laps were going fine. I had a good pace and felt like I could keep going at that. My first lap was a 1”19”, my second was a 1’10”. But, after my 2nd lap, my camelbak was really low so I decided to pull in and refill. I ate a cliff bar and a gu pack and went straight back out.
My 3rd lap was still pretty good, but I came across Liz late in the lap so rode with her for the rest of the lap. She was going well, but complained of falling down and hurting her knee. I ate a banana at the end of that lap and went back out. It is now about 4+ hours into the race. Right away on the 4th lap, my hamstring and quads on both legs began to cramp. The 4th lap was an effort in not pushing on the pedals. I made it around, but I was really slow.
Back at the camper, I ate the left over oatmeal from breakfast and drank a bunch and laid down to rest my legs. After about an hour I went back out and did my 5th lap, I am now in my 6th-7th hour of riding and 8-9hours into the race. After the food and drink, I felt much better. I also went back to Cytomax as my drink of choice and the difference was amazing.
That was it for me as it was getting dark at about 10 hours into the race when I finished that lap. I had hoped to get 6 laps in, but the cramping episode killed that. So, I loaded up and drove home, leaving Liz and Kathy to stay over night in the camper and then to bring it all home with them.
I am on to the next lap of the weekend.
Sunday – Aztalan Harescrambles race
Earlier in the week I had prepped my new RMZ to race. I did not truly know how well I would go on that bike, as I had not done any real back to back lap time comparison. I also had never raced Aztalan, as normally I would set up that course. It had always looked fun, and now I would finally get a chance to do it.
I loaded up my stuff, along with some really stinky race gas that Mark Junge had given us and headed over in the morning. Right away when we got there, I headed out to ride the course. I knew right away that it was going to be a tough day. My legs were hurting just walking up the first hill, and it was getting really hot.
The course used most of the Motocross track, but some of it was backwards making the jumps not really work in those backwards sections. The woods sections were mostly quite tight and had a bunch of really steep up hills and down hills. There was one hill in the track walk that I knew was going to be tough. It left from the MX track right up the side of a huge hill. It had a stump in the middle and a hump in the hillside halfway up, with a really steep face at the top.
The gun went off on our race, just a few minutes late. I got a decent start in about 5th, but when we hit that tough hill, the guy in front of me fell over and I had no where to go. I ended up sliding back down the hill and having to restart my bike…ugh. Everyone else went around the hill and headed down the trail. John and Jim (class rivals) were checking out, the rest of the group was around the hill and I was kicking my bike. Damn… It was going to be a long effort.
I got going and caught the back markers right away. There were 13 guys on my line. I finished the first lap in 6th. I finished the 2nd lap in 4th. I finished the 3rd lap in 3rd. I was now up to Jim who was in 2nd. It took me 2 laps to get around him. But I did, when he bobbled in a turn. I put my head down again and a lap later caught John in the lead. I battled with John for more than 8 laps. I could not get by him. I was faster, but he was riding really smart and covering all the shorter lines and insides of turns, leaving me the long way only. I tried tons of different lines etc… But just could not get by him. I tried a different line on the turn into the whoops, but fell over and just had to chase back up to him.
Finally, late in the race he fell over in a turn and I went by. But, by then I was done. I just could not get myself back up to the pace that I had used to catch him earlier in the race. It was like all the fluid in my internal tank had run completely out at that point. I just could not go. John got back around me on the entrance to a flat turn that I just did not have the energy to late brake into. On the next turn I got tangled up with a tree and ended up on the ground. My bike was wrapped around a tree and it took an unbelievable amount of energy to get it untangled and get going again. I was not completely cooked and rode around like a fleeb for a lap till the end of the race. 2nd. Not bad for the weekend.
– The RMZ 250 is incredible. That is it for me, the RM250 2stroke will get cleaned up now and sold. It was a great bike, but the chassis is stuck in 2001. The RMZ handles so much better.
– I can ride the RMZ so much more aggressively than the 2stroke. It just begs to be ridden hard. I think the 2stroke has way more power, and that is what makes it harder to ride. It is much easier to ride a slow bike fast, than it is to ride a fast bike slow.
– The connection of your right wrist to the ground is incredible on this bike. You just have to kind of telepathy yourself forward and you go.
– The race gas stinks and makes you kind of sick to your stomach to use it, but I think Scott is right that it makes the motor just a bit more responsive. I mixed it 50/50 with pump and it was very nice. (Does make the garage stink though.)
– There were a bunch of off camber turns with loose dirt and rocks. The RMZ will flat track right through that stuff. Fun.
– The RMZ flies much better than the RM250. Jumps that are doable for me on this bike are not necessarily doable for me on the 2stroke.
– I had really good pace in the race. I was much faster than Jim and a bit faster than John. John would gap me in around a lapper or something and I would have no problem bringing him back.
– The singletrack was very tight. The course was really fun, because it had 5th gear tapped out straightaways and 1st gear tight woods sections and the toughest uphills and downhills that I have seen since GNCC races last year.
– I am running a 13t countershaft sprocket(stock is a 12) and stock rear gearing. It was perfect for this weekend.
– I am just running the stock gas tank, but had plenty of gas left after the race. I think I could have gone another lap or maybe even 2 more. In a longer race or a race with a really long lap that I could end up much closer to 2.5 hours, I could need to refuel. At a GNCC, I will need to fuel for sure.