Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FSC #6 2011 - Markham Race Report & Photos

Eric coming down High Point
Look up Relentless in the dictionary and it will say: See Markham Park. Round #6 of the FSC brought riders to South Florida during a near perfect weekend. Race temperatures were in the 70's. A passing shower in the early morning gave the course plenty of grip. What Markham lacks in elevation compared to other FSC courses, it makes up with challenge after challenge without much chance for recovery. Even when you hit either of the 2 fire road sections, it's time to put the hammer down to keep away from any chasers. Throw in a 3/4 mile flat, mad dash "Parade Lap" into the trails at the start, and racers are going full out from start to finish.

Julio and a chaser
The XC3 30-39 class was the biggest I've ever seen. 58 racers lined up at the start!! With not much room for passing in the trails, it was going to be important to get in front early. The whistle went off and my second row start wasn't so smooth with a rider in the front row not being ready to go. I got around him quickly enough to see Julio and a bunch of about 20 pulling away. Because of the long start I knew I'd have a chance to chase back. Alex got knocked around a bit but managed to roll out right behind me. The parade start took us through the Finish line area where I was able to pick off about 10 riders just on the approach to the first corner and I'd creep by another handful riders as I squeezed through a gate that lead us into the trails. Unfortunately the last one was Julio, who I clipped into the gate, causing him to stumble for a second. Sorry buddy!! By the time we hit the first trail I was in the teens, with Julio and Alex not far behind. The first lap went well for me. No bad traffic or bottlenecks to deal with. Catching and passing riders at good moments and I was feeling good. Got passed just before the finish line and crossed in 12th after 1 lap. Julio and Alex had some troubles and were in the high 20s.

Alex through the trees
Lap 2 started out well and I didn't want to let up. I'd been passed but felt it was because I was snoozing on the flats a bit. I didn't let the rider get away and pushed hard to keep up. Combine that pushing with skipping a second bottle in the feed zone and I think I over cooked it a bit. When we hit the Gun Range section about half way through the lap I had to back off a bit. My back went tight and I lost power and felt cramps coming on when I'd try to stand up for power. I lost 4 spots in about 10 minutes through the climbing sections to riders that I had passed. I was annoyed. Once I hit the flatter trails I was able to stay sitting and push again. The finish was as exciting as it's ever been for me. Coming down the final flat stretch to the finish I was alone, but being chased by a stronger rider from another class, who was towing someone from my class. When they caught me I managed to pick up the speed a bit and disrupt the paceline so I wouldn't be a sitting duck. When we hit the final turn  it was a full on sprint to the finish!! I managed the inside line and held off my chaser into the finish area for 15th place. Best result of the season for me and by far the most fun finish. Julio and Alex would battle it out and gain a few spots on the 2nd lap and finished 23rd and 26th respectively. Our protege Eric Norris (Alex's old nephew) got his first taste of the podium finishing 5th in the novice class!

Victor Alber takes the Pro win
(Photo Courtesy of MTBMike.com)
The Pros went off  in the early wave and I didn't get to see the whole race, but the Super Cool Bike Shop guys ruled the day with Victor Alber putting in the fast lap of the day on lap 2 to finish 1st. Martin Cox then pulled away on lap 3 to get his gap for 2nd. Kevin Hoffman overcame a deficit on the first lap and chased back to finish 3rd. 

It was nice to have a little luck go my way after a few rough races. Definitely left a few spots on the trail, but I gave it all I had. Julio and Alex weren't too thrilled with their places, but the next race comes up quick to help them forget. We'll be at the 12 hours of Amelia this Sunday then at FSC #8 in Alva in 2 weeks. Thanks for following along, didn't get many pics this race, and we'll see you in Alva!