Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Race Report & Pics: FSC #1 2012 - Tallahassee

Eric G here. Sometimes late is better then never, so here's our race report for FSC #1!! The first race of the season had arrived to Tallahassee's Tom Brown Park. Team Eric (Eric G & Eric N) would make the 7 hour trip this time. The weekend schedule called for an Individual Time Trial on Saturday and the main events on Sunday. This year it seems the weather gods were also interested in participating as well. Racers such as ourselves who arrived to Tom Brown Park on Saturday, were treated to passing showers in the morning, eventually developing in torrential downpours in the early afternoon. Conditions were deteriorating quickly to the point where there was FLOWING WATER in the trails and pit areas. Race promoter Dave Berger made the tough call and had to cancel Saturday's ITT due to the conditions. At about 3pm Eric and I decided we still needed to get a look at the trail no matter the conditions. We managed about 1/3rd of the race loop before the skies opened up again, this time with lightning, so we had to call it quits. While we were out, conditions were awful. Instead of finding puddles in a trail, you would find dry sections. That's how much water was out there. We wound up packing up our gear and meeting our great friends Steve Mace, Matt Donovan and so many others that I can't remember, for a few brews and the largest pizzas I'd ever seen. If you can't ride, you might as well talk about riding with friends!

Race day arrived and it was like Saturday's rains never happened. Short of a few puddles, the trail drained magnificently. We'd learn that morning that the Park had requested the two most unique sections of the trail be removed from the race loop as erosion would do too much damage during the race. A tough decision, but understood.

Eric N through the splash zone
Eric N would start the 19-29 class like a rocket. After the race I caught up with him and here's what he had to say. "Having never been on the trails at Tom Brown and thanks to mother nature, I was unable to see much of it before the race. So needless to say I was wiggin' out! Having trained with some of my competition this summer, it was clear in my mind who I wanted to pace and who I was going to let by. So the whistle blew and we're off. I got a pretty good jump, clipped in quickly, and found myself in 5th position going into the trails. My goal was to let someone lead me the entire first lap as I had no clue what to expect. That plan was working great, the first couple miles I was climbing strong and keeping a solid pace with 3rd and 4th in front of me. I even felt that I had more in my tank but was going to save it until I figured this place out. Apparently, it was way more of a pace than I was ready to hold. I blew up quickly and had no idea of where to recover. Just not my day! I lost pace and was on my own trying to figure out any flow. 2nd lap came around and I was feeling it! In a whole new way that is! A mile into my second lap I had this sensation as if I ran into a thorn bush or something alike because I was in some pain. I quickly realized that for whatever reason a swarm of yellow jackets were pissed and were taking it out on me. I had dozens flying around the rear of my saddle, a dozen attached to my pork loins and as am I trying to ride and swat them I'm getting stung on my arm and shooting these things down my leg! I was doing my best not to scream like a school girl instead tried to remain the cool, rugged, hardcore mountain biker I think I am. Ha! Definitely the highlight of my race and a good story for my grandchildren someday. Sorry to my fans for the let down, but next race I'll be better prepared! I'm marking this one off as a good day of training."

Eric G coming out of Cadillac
My story is short but felt like hours to me! I started the race nicely. The first section of the course involves mostly gradual climbing, not usually my strength, but I've been working on it all Summer. The gun went off and so did we. I managed to be just outside the Top 10 getting into the first climb and wouldn't you know it, I felt DECENT!! I was pacing myself with someone who usually climbs much faster than me and didn't feel like I was going to blow up. I was excited that when the going got flat or down and technical, I'd be at my strengths and was looking forward to the rest of the race. That is until we hit the first fast technical sections and my brake levers began closing closer and closer to my handlebars! Apparently the pre-ride in terrible conditions did a number on my brake pads, and about 15 minutes into my race I had about 20% stopping power. That's right about when I took my first OTB, of which unfortunately there would be several more. Racing without brakes is quite frustrating as you start building up confidence on how to manage the speed, until BAM...too fast and off the course you go. I finished the race anyways as I didn't drive 7 hours to not ride, but I was never able to do anything when the going got flat or down other than pedal just enough to get out of people's way. I actually wounded up treating it like training for climbing since it was the only time I could put a full effort in. I'd finish a sad 25th on the day...

Earlier in the morning Pro's put on a show between Ryan Woodall and Bob McCarty, staying together for the entire race, with Ryan ultimately holding off Bob in a sprint finish! A rare site for us!

Woodall takes the Pro win
Next race for us is this weekend for FSC #3 in Gainesville, a Series favorite with it's long climbs and downhills. Mechanical issues have been taken care of as we've acquired new team bikes!!! Scott Sparks & Scales will be our steeds from now on!! Stay tuned for some reviews on those as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics below. Let us know in the comment section how your day went!!

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