Thursday, November 13, 2014

Race Report & Pics - Coconut Cup #1 Markham

Back-to-Back-to Back events means we got backed up on getting our reports are. But here we go with our report for Gone Riding's Coconut Cup Kickoff event at Markham Park!

After rains covered the area leading up to the weekend, Saturday rolled around with nothing but blue skies and crisp temperatures. Prepared by the always creative Markham Park Trail Builders, the course was typical Markham, meaning fast and relentless. Classic sections were perfectly interconnected with newer sections to create a blazing loop. This wasn't a roadie course though with the Gun Range and OBX (Named by Carlos Galvis...) sections thrown in to challenge event he most technically adept rider.

Eric G before the misfortunes
The weekend had a bonus Short Track event on Saturday afternoon. Boyco and I (Eric G) decided to give it a go with mild success. I really just wanted to get in there and shake things up. Actually glad I did because I found a maladjusted derailleur was causing me chain drops during the race. Ruined my result, but at least it didn't happen on race day. Boyco meanwhile made the most of it and ended up in 3rd in class after the 20 minute torture fest. Good enough start for the weekend!

Race day rolled around and Eric Norris would join us for his first mountain bike race fresh of a new addition to the family not 2 weeks earlier! Off we went and after a positive mid pack start in the XC2 30+ class, I was working up in the low teens when a perfectly placed rock catapulted me and my bike off the trail! It had been quite awhile since I'd been thrown like this. No warning or anything, I was just along for the ride so to speak. After I dusted myself off and did an injury check. Fortunately both rider and steed were unscathed and off I went in pursuit. I'd lost a few places but not too many. Fast forward to the end of lap 2 and I'd picked off some riders and was closing in on 12th place when I flatted!! I reached back to grab a CO2 only to realize I'd left at the pits during my preparation! I was near enough to the end of the lap where I figured I'd make a run for the pits. I took off with bike in hand and was suddenly saved by a trail fairy who magically placed a Co2 trailside. I'd also left my spare tube so it was my only hope that Stan's Sealant would work. Alas it was a bit of an odd puncture and the sealant wouldn't stop the leak. I limped my way back to the end of the lap with a deflating tire and called it a day.

Boyco receiving some brotherly assistance
Boyco was up in the always too fast XC2 19-29 class. Typically a small but extremely competitive class there were 10 riders at the line. A lead pack of 5 quickly took control and set off to destroy each other. Boyco hung on for a bit then settled into his own pace. A bit of mechanical trouble for other racers had him in 5th at the end of the lap, just under a minute up on the next rider. He managed to keep the pace up the next two laps to keep pulling away and claiming the last spot on the podium. After a rough start to the XC season, it came around for the start of the Coconut Cup. Combined with the Bonus Short Track round, he sits in 3rd for the young series.

Norris making his comeback!
Norris was next up in the White Wave in XC3 30+. A wonderful new born at home gave him an adventurous month leading up to the race. While the training was solid, the race legs were a bit lacking so he settled for a conservative start. A huge 38 person field meant that there would be bottlenecks at the start and sure enough he was in it early on. Getting caught up would cost him much time and positions unfortunately. After a bit of a shuffle at the end of lap 1 he'd worked up to 23rd, within 30 seconds of a few riders. The lack of race legs would come around on lap 2 and while he wouldn't lose any positions, he wasn't able gain any places at the finish. Coming through unscathed after a race layoff is always positive so we'll take it.

Finally the always amazing Elite class! This event doubles up as a FSC round and would be the 2nd of the series to be USAC sactioned which brought the Elite riders from all around. Series leader Bob McCarty was looking to defend his lead on home turf. Bent Cycling brough their duo of Howard Mose and Dwayne Algire. Super Cool Bike Shop came loaded with Shaun Smith and Martin Cox.  Even National Pro Drew Edsall would make the trip down south to play in some of his former Florida stomping grounds. The 24 Experts were off down the long start at a blistering pace. Early in it was apparent that the locals had an edge with 5 of the first 9 riders being from the area. First lap rolled around and a train of 9 came through all within the one minute of each other. The
McCarty takes the win!
fireworks started on lap two with Edsall throwing down the fastest lap, and whittling the group down to six. Lap three would wind up being the difference maker with 3 locals turning the screws even more to get away from the field. Doug DeWeese (Fastest lap of the day) & McCarty would come through together, with Allison Anjos just behind on his own. While McCarty and DeWeese are both part of the ID Angel/McCarty team, the race was still on! DeWeese has certainly stepped it up this season, even putting down the fastest lap of the day, but McCarty has been at this game long enough and kept the pace high enough to squeeze out about 10 second gap on his teammate and take his second win of the season. Anjos meanwhile held off a hard charging Shawn Smith who had closed the gap down to mere seconds, to claim 3rd on the day. This Elite class format by Gone Riding has brought out the best in Florida and every race it seems to be different riders stepping up. Nonetheless, McCarty has been Mr. Consistent, having placed no lower than 2nd in any of the five races so far.

Next up was the return of the legendary Hailes Trails for myself so I'll have a write up done ASAP. Then off to Alva for Coconut Cup #2. so come back soon for more stories! Enjoy the pictures below and like our Facebook page if you haven't already! We like to thank all our sponsors, especially Bike Tech who continues to help us every step of the way!

Always a good time with the Bike Tech Racers!

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