Wednesday, August 24, 2011
So Julie and I headed to the great white north last weekend and did the Border Battle, a pretty sweet race that pits the WORS series against the Minnesota Series. We drove up Saturday and did a few laps of the course. Whoever does all of the trail work at this place must spend a lot of time diggin’ in the dirt. They made great improvements on what was already a pretty sweet course in years past. Lot’s of new, super fun singletrack! Combine that with mostly damp and tacky conditions and you’re most likely going to have a great day on the bike. After the ride we drove over to my Aunt and Uncle’s in Chanhassen, had a great steak dinner, followed by some Sebastian Joe’s ice cream…man that’s some good stuff. They have a couple of cats that always prove to be very entertaining.
Race day. All of the fast guys from the upper Midwest were there, sans Matter and Schouten who were resting up for the upcoming cross season. Brendan was also out, I heard that he was attending a fund raiser for his nephew, a two year old that has terminal cancer. That is way too young…my heart truly goes out to Brendan and his family as well as our thoughts and prayers.
I got a 2nd row call up among the 75 man Elite field and was very glad for it as I got off to a crappy start again. I missed the mark when attempting to clip in and ended up about mid pack heading up the hill. I followed a few guys on the far right side and made up a little ground on the field and found myself in around 20th going into the woods. My legs felt pretty OK so I settled into a fairly comfortable pace and patiently waited for opportunities to pass in the couple of small passing zones.
I managed to pass one or two peeps in each passing zone and had worked my way up to Sam O and Ray Nelson. I eventually got by Sam, Ray and a few others at the end of lap 1 and hammered it up the hill. As we hit the bottom of the rocky, techie climb, a rock rolled out from underneath my front tire and I went down while going about 3 mph. Sam O got by, I picked myself up and chased after him going up the hill. I caught back up in the next section of singletrack and sat on for some recovery.
That's me getting chased by fellow old racer dude Todd McFadden.
I eventually got back around Sam and noticed Kevin McConnell a short distance up the trail. It took the better part of two laps to reel him in. He was having a good day and riding well. Once I caught up to him, I latched on and followed his wheel throughout the last lap. There were a few instances where I had gotten gapped off a little due to the thick Comp traffic on the last lap, but I managed to close it back up each time. As we hit the final stretch to the finish line, we both dropped the hammer on each other to be the first to the hairpin right before the finish line. I had the inside line and had managed to get a wheel ahead of Kevin going into the turn. I overcooked the corner a little and Kevin took over the inside line. We were both in way too big of a gear for the 25 yard dash to the finish line. I decided to stay in the gear and push it to the line, Kevin tried to downshift and I heard his chain skipping around. I managed to nip him at the line by the width of a tire. It was painful, but I enjoyed every second of it. Kevin’s a great guy to race against regardless of the outcome, always a great time.
Kevin McConnell tearin' up the bridge berm.
The Eppenator rode to another solid top five finish.
I managed to pull of 7th place overall, my best result for the Border Battle, around 4 minutes behind the winner. A little better than I was expecting as I’m at the end of a pretty heavy training block, so I’m pretty happy with it. The Iowa folks had a great showing, with Eppen finishing 5th and Kevin finishing 8th. Kim Eppen won the women’s race and Robin W and Brittany were also in the top ten. It’s great to see the McConnell’s and Eppen’s kickin’ some bootay up north. Julie’s race? I’ll put it in her words, “Well…I didn’t finish last!” She did have a great time and as we all know, that’s the most important thing. It was a great course, so it was tough to not have a good time out there.
Sugarbottom is up this weekend and rumor has it that most of the black sections of the course have been eliminated. That’s too bad because their cutting out a lot of the fun stuff. It should still be a great course for the race. Maybe the part that were most looking forward to is the buffalo chicken burritos from Atlas that were going to devour on the way home from the race!
Thanks for reading,