Friday, November 23, 2012

Race Report & Pics: FSC 2012 #8 Alva

Another great race weekend!
And we're back after missing FSC #7. Eric G here with our race report for FSC #8 in Alva. "Team Eric" would make it to this race with me arriving Saturday for the course recon, and NEW FATHER, Eric N, sneaking over early on race day morning.

The course at Caloosahatchee Regional Park was unfamiliar to both of us. Upon getting on the course, we found the reports to be true, this place is flat and fast! Packed down hard with a light layer of dust and barely any berms call for redline pedalling, controlled braking and delicate carving through the turns, then back on the gas for more. Then, for about 15 minutes you're in  the "Far East" in what feels like a completely different trail. Fast, repeating roller sections connected by rooty terrain, enclosed by a low canopy. Anyone over 6'1" was surely in danger of smacking their head on a low branch if not careful. upon exiting it's back on the gas to the finish. It was a long nearly 10 mile loop. XC3 racers would do a lap and a half with some of the sections cut out on the second lap.

Race day arrived and the weather was great by the white wave time. Temps were in the low 70s and the sun was starting to peek out. Eric N. lined up for his XC3 19-29 class with 14 racers in it. Not even 30 feet in there was a pileup that claimed 2 riders that Eric was able to avoid. He salvaged the start with a run back to the middle of the pack approaching the first trails. The pace here is always intense and he ultimately had to back his speed down. Balancing a new baby and training is tough so he wasn't in top form for this event. After a tough going in the "Far East", he found his second wind and finished off solo in 9th place on the day. A tough race was at least rewarded with his first Top 10 of the season!

The XC3 30+ class was back to form with 34 racers at the line! The starts for us are always nerve racking as with so many people, the start can make or break your race. Throw in two slow "Camel Humps" at the start of this race that always cause chaos, and I was praying that I wouldn't have any issues. The whistle blew and I had no drama clipping in. I sat in 5th wheel into the camel humps and continued there for the first 15 minutes or so. I've improved this season enough to see what it's like to start with the top guys in my class. I'm also fully aware that I still can't quite keep up with them the whole race. I knew I was in between the leaders and the 2nd place racer in the points standings. I didn't want to create a gap for him so I pushed to keep with the top guys. As soon as the trail opened a bit I backed off the pace to something more realistic and let him ad a few others by. I'd lose about 3 spots and sit there through most of the first lap. The Far East section got me good though and I hit it a bit too hard and lost some pace and a few more spots. I was able to recover starting the second lap and picked up the pace again and while I couldn't close on any racers in front of me, I minimized my damages and held on for 14th place. Not the Top 10 I'm still looking for, but at least I'm staying constant with my recent results.

The Pros were fighting hard
again this weekend
Earlier in the morning the Pro class would bring another great battle to the spectators. While only 4 riders lined up the class, a lead trio would quickly get away and battle it through 3 tough laps of the course. Current Pro Leader Bob McCarty, Shawn Smith and Alex Zambrana would fight it out the first two laps with Smith coming though as leader for the first and second (I think!!) laps. With McCarty and Zambrana in tow. On lap 3 though, Smith and McCarty would put some distance on Zambrana. McCarty would then make his move late and get a small gap on Smith and take the victory by about a 10 second margin! While each race has been closely contested, McCarty holds a commanding 12 point lead in the standings with one race left in the FSC. Anything but a DNF in FSC #9 in Santos will likely give McCarty the title as FSC Pro Champion at the next race. Pride will still likely be up for grabs as the only other Florida Pro to win a race this season, Ryan Woodall, might be back for the finale at his home course. While the title is all but wrapped up for Bob, fans will be hoping for a final epic battle from the Pros for the season!!

While the course was new to us, we are pleased with our results. Our next race brings us home for the 3rd round of the Coconut Cup series. While this is usually a smaller event than the FSC, the fact that it's a Makeup Event for the FSC might bring a few racers hoping to improve on a bad result from another race earlier in the season. After that we hope to be at FSC #9 for a final race report on the season!! Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy some of the pics below. Leave us a comment and let us know how your race went!!

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