I have had a busy couple of days. Friday morning I left my pre Nationals home base of Purgatory just outside of Durango to head east for the Boston Rebellion PROXCT. Now you might think why would I go to sea level just one week before National Champs which are in Mammoth at 8,300 ft after spending so much time acclimating. There are three reasons; 1. I always like to race the weekend before a big race to stay in the grove. 2. I have been at altitude so long it’s nice to get a good power work out in now and then so you don’t lose that muscle and power. 3. I don’t feel I lose any altitude adaptation in 40 hours of being at sea level after 3 weeks at high elevation. Whether or not this all works out is TBD.
The Boston course at Adams Farm was the roughest I have ridden in a long time. The trails were very similar to what I learned to ride on back in NY. They are littered with rocks, roots and it seems that you never stop turning. There is hardly any elevation gain so when it does go uphill you really have to hit it hard to try and gain time. The lap was nearly 7 KM and it is probably squeezed into an area less then a square mile so there are plenty of turns. The weather was perfect with temps in the mid 80s and hardly any humidity. Ninety percent of the course is under super dense tree cover so it stayed pretty cool for how warm it was.
I ran the S-Works Epic with a Renegade Control rear 25 psi and Fast Track Control front 23 psi. For the rear suspension I was set at 130 psi and the RS-1 had 70 psi. Even with those relatively low pressures for me it still felt rough. This was the first race I did with the Brain 2 clicks open in the rear. Normally I always race with it fully firm but I needed it open to soak up some of the bumps. I also was adjusting the Brain on my RS1 to open when I was in the woods and fully locked when I was in the field or double track. Again, I normally always race with it fully firm but wanted it completely active for the majority of the course.
I got a good start and went into the first woods/rock garden section second wheel behind Cole. I jumped around him midway through the first lap and set out to open a gap. By the end of lap one I had twenty or thirty second gap that I would hold for most of the race and build on at the end. I kept the rubber side down and avoided any mechanicals to roll in for the win. I tried to push myself whenever it opened up and take it careful through the many rock gardens to preserve the tires.
I had hoped to really hit it hard on the last lap but on lap four of five I was feeling some twinges in my quads so I had to be careful not to cramp. It’s funny to think that on a course with less then 1,000 ft of climbing for the whole day it would be possible to cramp in just over an hour. The thing is training at high altitude you can’t produce as much power so your muscles get weaker as your cardio system and blood get stronger. That is why people say sleep high, train low so you can reap the benefits from each. Also, with Nat’s being a longer sustained effort I haven’t been doing too much short intense stuff so jumping out of corners every 5-10 seconds for an hour and half put me in the hurt box.
My travel to and from Boston was perfect and I even got to watch the Tour on DirectTV both directions. I arrived in Mammoth last night and it feels good to be back at altitude. This week I will have it pretty chill as most of the hard work is done and now there is nothing left to do but relax and getting ready for the weekend, so I’ll be doing some of this.
I’m looking forward to having Meg, Coop and my family here this weekend. Mammoth was one the first bike races Meg ever went to watch me at way back in 1996 I think.
I wonder what Winston is doing right now……