8/18/14

IMBCS #4 George Wyth State Park Race Report...

Yesterday was the 4th race in the 7 race series for the IMBCS 2014 Season.  This event was a return visit from last year to the very scenic George Wyth State Park on the Cedar River in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area.  Race host Lee Geisinger and his CVAST crew promised to deliver.  And let me tell you - they did!  Great trail.  Great sponsors.  Great food.  Great chip timing.

In fact, it was an overall pleasure to participate from online registration all the way to the end of the event.  Our series can be proud to say that it was yet another huge feather in the IMBCS hat.  Kudos to Lee and CVAST!!!!

Lots of rain pummeled Central Iowa on Friday and Saturday, but not a drop made it up to the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area so the race was on as scheduled.  I headed up on Sunday morning (driving the speed limit, of course, now that I'm on probation), and it was very foggy with sunshine until I got near Marshalltown.  Then things cleared up and it was a nice Sunday morning drive rolling through the rural areas between Marshalltown, Grundy Center and heading into Cedar Falls.

I rolled in a bit later than I had originally intended due to a train that had stopped across the crossing on highway 14 (waited 13 minutes for it to get moving again), and my slow driving.  I usually like at least an houf to get ready, but I only had about 30 minutes to check in, get dressed and warm-up.  So I went into efficency mode to do all of that and prepare myself for the race as best I could with only 30 minutes.  I hit my numbers in a shortened warm-up, got my fuel mixed, and headed to the line where everyone was already there and waiting for the start.  A bit more than 100 racers had turned up for the day's racing which is great.    Those that didn't make it missed out on a great event for our series.  Maybe next year, turnout could top 125...

Lee gave us the low down on the trails, lap counts, passing etiquette, and welcomed us to the race.  The start waves began at high noon.  My group took off after a bit of chit-chat between several of us lined up and waiting.  I met a fellow MyFitnessPal friend who was lined up right next to me.  He is also doing Sugarbottom and the Dakota Five-0 in the Black Hills, so we had that in common.  And Rob Cook, along with Andre Rethman, gave me a bit of a rundown on the course and conditions since they had taken a pre-ride on it.

On my wave's start, I couldn't get my left foot clipped into my left pedal.  So I just pedaled with my foot on top of the SPD pedal until I could finally manage to get it clipped in a few hundred yards later.  I had no idea what the trails were like outside of hearing that they were dry, and pretty much flat.  I also didn't know who all was here in our group outside of seeing Landon, and Andre.  In spite of not getting clipped in right away, I at least was close to Landon's wheel.  I tucked in a couple of riders behind Landon Beachy and Andre Rethman with his menacing legs was right behind me.

This is what we were greeted with in the forest filled with non-stop twists and turns....

GeorgeWythTwisty

Good stuff, for sure.  Due to the course being flat, one pretty much was on the gas non-stop for this race.  I had my iPhone mounted on my handlebars as I am glancing down occasionally to make sure I'm not "just riding along", but indeed cranking out the effort I have been capable of doing in training rides.

To make a long story short, the race for lap one and lap two looked just like this...

TailingLandon

Landon leading the way, with Andre on my heels...

OldMenStickingTogether
That's how we rode until we were getting to the last segment of lap 2.  I passed Landon and bumped my effort up a notch to open up a gap.  I was wasting a lot of energy trying to fly through the tight and twisty, but I had some in reserve to spend and kept at it with every corner, and every acceleration.  Heading across the finish line to start my third lap, I kept the hammer down to make sure I was flying through anything that might be considered difficult (rocks, roots, sand, jumps).  Great looking forest to fly through.

Here's TJ Fort rippin' it up on this sweet singletrack...

TJ
About midway through lap #3, I was surprised when Anthony Branch passed me on the left without any warning on one open stretch at warp speed.  I tucked right in behind him and had at it as he was flying.  We caught up to Katherine Roccasecca who cheered me on to go catch Anthony (which I did).  Jason Dal had schooled me earlier in the week on Riverside at Banner Pits on how to push my heart rate up to 179 on the flats, so I turned it on and watched the HR climb up.

Anthony and I battled to the end with me amazed at how he could accelerate out of corners where he actually was going so hard his back tire would spin out.  Come to find out after we crossed the finish line, he had lost his rear shifter which meant he was not able to shift and had to use a big gear that had him standing and cranking out of corners where the spin outs were taking place.  He looked really strong and had a great race.

I crossed the line at 1:00:03 good enough for 1st Place with Andre just a bit behind me, and Landon was about a minute back at 1:01:10 to round out the 50+ podium.

GWMTBPodium

I ended up 10th overall for the day...

OverallTop25

Kudos to Andy Peterson and Ryan Betters (hotwheels Kevin's son) for charging our category into sub 1 hour.  In spite of the flat course, plenty of people went down, hit trees, had accidents as we surveyed the carnage at the finish line.  Ron Cooney face planted.  Andre Rethman went down and had some abrasions on the arm and leg.  Heather Wince did a face plant.  I don't know who else, but plenty of stories of wiping out were shared at the post race hang around.

I went out for a cool down ride, got washed up, changed clothes, and then headed over for a bowl of delicious pasta.  This was our first "warm" race of the season, and it really wasn't that warm as it was only in the 80's.  The humidity made it feel a bit more closed in than it really was.  Awards were handed out, schwag was given, and everyone thanked Lee and his crew for a top notch, and well run event.

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