Friday, October 21, 2011

FSC #4 2011 - Alafia Race Report & Photos

Alex just before Rabbit Ears
Eric G here with our race report for race #4 of Gone Riding's Florida State Cup. With the first 3 races of the season bringing us smooth, flowing XC race friendly courses, it was time for a change. Tight trails, technical sections, fast drops, and the longest laps of the season greeted the racers at Alafia River State Park near Tampa, Florida. The key here is good positioning going into the first trail as the first few miles are mostly bench cut along the river and streams, which doesn't allow for much passing room. If you manage to start well you must then have the endurance to keep the race pace while successfully navigating over rooty climbs, white knuckle fast drops and swooping roller coasters topped off by the hardest section at the END of the lap.

Eric playing catchup

XC3 30-39 field was a large 33 riders and off we went. I spent too much time warming up and got to the line late and started in the 2nd row. Alex got a descent start in the high teens. I got to start LAST....That's right LAST going into the first trail...Unfortunately got my handlebar hooked at the whistle and turned right into the rider to my right. It was either fall or stop, so I stopped and watched the entire field ride off. My chain popped off the chainring also, so I got everything sorted out and took off with a was going to be a long day. No disrespect to anyone in my class, but being way back there I just wanted to yell for everyone to get out of my way because I was clearly faster than them at least. But hey it's racing, so I passed when I could, but when there was a HUGE gap already 2 minutes in I knew any chance of a decent finish was gone. Alex was going ok but got caught up in an early pileup and lost a few spots. Sitting in 21st he managed to catch 2 riders from our class but couldn't manage to get around them. About midway through the lap a 40+ rider got in the mix and took a dive costing Alex some more spots while he got rolling again. By then I'd been rolling solo for sometime (turns out I was 25th..yaaaayyy...) and I saw Alex in the tough Roller Coaster Trail. As bad as I felt to chase my own teammate, I had to do it. I was closing down until I got distracted by riders coming behind me. I looked back and noticed they were in another class, but I took a tumble that knocked the wind out of me, and likely cost me the pass on Alex. Rest of the race was uneventful for both of us and we crossed 24th and 25th respectively. Pretty disappointing for both of us considering how much we like this trail.

Drew Edsall with the Pro win
( Photo courtesy of Spoken Chain Magazine)
The schedule was a little different this race, so when we arrived the Pro's had already started the first wave. These guys would be riding 3 laps (30 miles) of this course!!! After the first lap, teammates Drew Edsall (just off his 4th place at the Pisgah Stage Race) and Martin Cox had a small lead on 3rd place Allison Anjos. They stayed close together through the 2nd lap as well, with Edsall finally putting some time on Cox for the win. Anjos had a considerable slowdown on lap 3 (Mechanical?) but held on for 3rd place.

Next we get a 3 week break (Skipping FSC #5 Alachua) until our home race at Markham Park, which also kicks off the Coconut Cup series. It's been a tough start to the season, but hopefully we'll get some home turf advantage to turn our season around. Thanks for reading as always and enjoy some pics below!! Good luck to everyone in Alachua!!!

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