Monday, April 5, 2010

ICUP #2, Cholla Challenge

Dwight and me on the back half of the course, lap 1. Photo courtesy of Smugmug.
Post race celebration with Coach Lynda. Photo courtesy of Dave Harris.

The second XC race of the 2010 season went better than expected. I finished 1st!

The Cholla Challenge course in Hurricane Utah is a wonderful mix of slick rock, sand, small ledges, gravel flash flood drainages, single track and just a bit of double track. And it's fast. I really like the course cuz it doesn't have any long hard climbs like Solitude, Sundance and Deer Valley. And, we're in the desert, which is where I love to be.

Our race started about 12:45 under an overcast sky, no wind and a comfortable temperature. I think our group had 7 guys toe the start line. We started with the 6 or 7 Clydesdales and I got squashed at the gun when I hit the hard left turn. The dust was flying, visibility was "0" and when it cleared I was next to the last! By the time we hit the slick rock climb I passed everyone but Dwight Hibdon. DH is a great climber so I stayed on his wheel hoping not to get dropped to quickly. We went back and forth keeping the pressure on Joel Quinn who has been riding real strong so far this season. By the 1st rocky descent we had gapped Joel and he was no longer in the mix. DH was setting an excellent pace and I stayed on his wheel the entire 1st lap. I pulled on the single track section heading back to the start-finish line which we crossed together. That felt real good being with him.

Lap 2 was the same as lap 1, for a little while. We headed up the 1st slick rock section together and began the gradual climb before the rocky descent. I had a brain-fart and dipped my wheel in a rock and lost my momentum. That's all DH needed as he slowly pulled away from me. I was working hard to bridge the gap, but I couldn't catch up. And then he put a slow rider between us at the top of the rocky descent, and that opened the gap a little more. Bye-bye DH! Well, to my surprise DH got a flat at the bottom of the rocky descent, and, he didn't have a spare tube!!! Shame on you Dwight. I offered him my spare and after 1st refusing, he said ok, give it to me. So I did and off I sped. I don't like to take advantage of a distressed rider, but I did anyway. I put the pedal to the metal and pushed hard knowing he'd fix that flat in 2 minutes and run me down. And I didn't want that since I was a good samaritan and all that.

Needless to say, DH didn't catch me. In fact, he didn't catch anyone. Ya see, the tube I gave him, the lightweight one I've been racing with for several years, had a hole in it! Poor DH :-( And he wasted a Big Air trying to blow up my gift tube. So I was actually a double-winner. I won the race and, now I know I need to patch my spare race tube. Sorry Dwight. But seriously, if he hadn't flatted I wouldn't have caught him. He's strong and fast and the real class of the group. I really enjoyed staying with him as long as I did and hope I can do it again. He and Roger deserve some competition.

I'm certain DH will get the last laugh and beat me every time we race from hear on out. But at least I got him once this season! And I'm gonna be careful accepting a "gift" from him during a race.

All in all, it was a great weekend that was capped off with a Saturday afternoon ride on the 25-Hours of Frog Hollow course, a kegger at Gooseberry Mesa, and a Sunday ride on Little Creek Mesa. Ya can't ask for much more than that. Life is gooooood!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Way to go Brad! Sounds like the race was a lot of fun.