Monday, October 4, 2021

Race Reports are BACK!! FSC #4 2021 - Markham Park Elite Men's Race Report

And we're back! It's been too long since I've had a race report for a Gone Riding event and glad to bring one along with pics!! So here we go!

FSC #4 which doubles up as Coconut Cup kickoff race was supposed to be my return to midpack Cat2 glory! The weather leading up to the weekend was spotty with showers closing down the trails for a few days, but by Saturday, the course was marked and FAST. Over the years Markham has developed into a perfect balance of speed and flow sections, while maintaining enough technical challenges to develop riders' riding skills when the trail shows it's teeth. The combination has lead to a race loop with some of the fastest average speeds, and still retaining enough challenging sections to make it relentless. You're either pinned on the flats, or trying not to lose it over the many fast ridges and ledges throughout the course. See a quick highlight video of our recon lap below.

As for my race, well it didn't happen. Lots of prep leading up to this race, and I went and got sick late in the week. Woke up Sunday pretty congested. I'm Covid free but listened to the body and sat this one out, but I got tons of pics and got to pay attention to the race so I'll report on the always exciting Elite class!

Too sick to smile

For the better part of the 13 years that we've been involved in the South Florida racing scene, two names have always raised eyebrows when they've lined up together, Bob McCarty & Ryan Woodall. While there's been and still are many long time fast Florida Elite racers, seeing those two line up means it's going to be as fast as it can get. While they may be over a decade apart and in age, their speed, skills and consistency rarely creates more than a few seconds difference lap after lap. On this day, 28 riders would line up for the Elite 19-49 field for 4 laps of Markham. 

The field was off and set a blistering pace led by Victor Alber, another long time Florida fast man, out front early in the singletrack through the flowing Redback section with the majority of the field in tow. The pace would start to split the field eventually with 9 riders coming clear with a gap at the end of lap 1.

Victor Alber leading early

The group of 9 would remain together when we'd see them again coming through the paver climb in the Gun Range section. 2020 FSC Champion Antonio Guzman would drive the charge through the course and bring the group back around through the 2nd lap. The pace was nearly identical to the first, but not enough to break up the lead group further. 

Antonio Guzman takes a turn up front

Three laps in and while the lead group would exchange places, McCarty and Woodall would bide their time. On lap 3, Bob would use his home course knowledge and strike first and strike hard. He managed to jump into the singletrack, and it's little passing room, first and put some riders in between him and Ryan and pin it like only he can at his home course. Coming out of the Outback section and around the far side lake he'd gained a small gap on the field with Troy Davis sprinting to stay connected. Victor Alber would be chasing 5 seconds in arrears, with Woodall and one more racer in tow another 5 seconds back. The rest of the fields would continue the charge, but any cohesion they had as a group was blown apart by the pace. Exiting the Bermuda Triangle Section, McCarty held a 5 second advantage on Davis and stretched it out to 20 over the duo of Alber and Woodall. Exiting the trail I'd see Woodall stand up and set a hard chase onto the short fireroad section approaching the finish line. Could he bring back the gap on the last lap? 

McCarty Strikes!

Woodall Chases

While chasing the riders and trying to take photos and mental notes of action, but what I didn't know was that Bob would set the fastest lap on the day on lap 3, over 30 seconds faster than each of the first two laps!! He'd again set the second fastest lap of the race on lap 4 and was simply untouchable on this day. Even with a solo roll in and celebratory post up at the line he'd still put another 29 seconds on Woodall, who'd shed his age classmates for the class victory. I didn't get to talk to Bob after the race, but ever the sportsman, I spoke with Ryan who was complimentary towards Bob and mentioned that even after this many years near the top, he's still learning and this would be a lesson in field positioning for him. Once Bob got away he knew it would be tough to catch. 

McCarty takes first win of the year at home!

McCarty the master now leads the Elite series with Davis, Alber, and Julio Gomez in striking distance. Woodall has one missed event in the series, but remains a contender with two wins in his three appearances. If he is truly going for the series he'll have some makeup events for the opportunity to get him back in contention. 

My next outing will be at Alva so will try to bring another detailed race report for the exciting series! I've got a few hundred Yellow wave pics to sort through but will upload to our Facebook page later this week! Stay tuned!!

No comments:

Post a Comment