Keifer’s end of season catch up blog

Greetings from the Four Corners (Farmington). I need to catch up on what I’ve been doing for the last few months, so you guys don’t think I’ve been slacking! Ha! (Although a few of you know me better than that!)

My road season ended with the Oak Flat race in Tijeras, September 7th. There hadn’t been a regional (<200 miles radius) road race in a month or so, so was fired up. Especially since the course has very little climbing in it. More of a tactical and endurance race, really.

  On the first lap, I was in about 5th place when the whole group except for Hawk Morgan and I missed a left turn. I followed Hawk, but he obviously was looking to chill for the first few laps. The legs felt good, and I had an easy gap, so I decided to attack into a downhill and see what the pack does. 40-45 MPH on the Jamis Xenith SL with Zipp 404 /Vittoria tubulars was way too fun! I pack let me get a gap, but I could tell by the group being lined up that they were forming a chase. I kept my effort at threshold, for a few miles, just in case a break would come up. No such luck. I sat up as they got close, and got back in the pack. I think on the 3rd lap, on the main hill of the circuit, a break formed with the favorites. I went to the front to pull it back, since it looked like no Colavita was present. I got us within about 5 seconds when John Verheul put in a big attack and jumped up to the leaders. Once he was there, I sat up, and since all the teams were represented, the whole group sat up.

  The break stayed away, and my group was at 15 members, but by the final lap, we were down to seven! I still was feeling good, so for the group sprint, I went for it, and took second. 8th overall. Fun race, I just wish I could’ve been in the leading break. Oh well!

  Thanks to teammate Emilio for handing a bottle of water! Perfect!

  The other news I wanted to report is that after buying a Gary Fisher Superfly carbon 29er, I’ve been doing a lot of MTBing. I’ve had a steel 3D Racing singlespeed 29er for a while, so I kind of understood the deal about 29er wheels. However, my 24 lb (stock, out of the box, with pedals) Superfly is a race machine!

  I had it for three days before deciding to try it out at the Sandia Mountain Challenge, at Sandia Peak Ski area. I hadn’t ridden the trails there in over ten years! I had a great start into the singletrack, and was running fourth overall up the first few switchbacks. A couple Semi-Pros caught up to me, and we dueled for eight miles of climbing to the summit. At the top I was in 6th place, but something was wrong. My tubeless rear tire felt soft. Oh no! A puncture! Oh no! I forgot to bring a 29er tube! So I shot compressed air into it, hoping the sealant would work, but no dice. By the time I got to the bottom of the loop, to go back up another time, I was out of air, and sealant. Game over. Lesson learned! That was in July, and there were many more MTB races coming over the next few months.

Next up was a “local” XC race in Dolores, CO. I was sick, but really wanted to race. I was going to the Pajarito XC race in Los Alamos, but that was way too much driving to be sick-racing. I can drive to Dolores the morning of the race. I ended up 5th on a mostly singletrack coarse that I had never seen before. Not too bad.

Next was a local race in Durango, CO. This Dirt Lovers Rally XC race is put on by the Durango Parks and Recreation department. I ended up 5th again, after crashing in the last 2 miles of the race. I got a little to fast into a dip, but didn’t lose any places. I was also racing with 6 stitches in my arm from a head-on with a motorcycle a few days before while riding the singlespeed.  More on that some other time!

A week after the Oak Flat RR, was the NM State XC Championships, held at the Cedro Peak trail system, near Tijeras. I had another great start uphill into the singletrack, the legs were feeling great, and the Superfly was flyin’. I felt at my limit for the whole race, and never got passed. At the finish they told me my time was 1:56. I though WOW, that should be a good time. The year before, I clocked a 2:06, so I new I had a great run. After taking advantage of the great food and beverage spread the promoter (Mountain Top Cycling) had at the picnic area, I waited for results. And waited, and waited….

  Finally, I was getting too hungry, and I wanted to get home. Results later, I guess.

  I took a few days for MTC to post the results, but hey, good news is never too late! 1st place in the Men’s Expert 30-39! Sweet! 2nd Overall in the Expert class too! It’s good to win every once in a while.

  September 27th was the Gallup High Desert Screamer XC race. This one turned out to be quite interesting. After hitting the singletrack, I was in great position, 4th, rolling through the turns in a lead group of five, including Mike McCalla. I was feeling great, but through one of the straight sections, I felt a little off. I looked down, and my stem was about 30 degrees off of center!!! Oh sh*t! I nervously rolled until I found a pull out that I could take at speed, and stopped. Mike Told me, “thanks”, like I was letting him by!

  Fortunately, I had thrown an Allen key set in my jersey. I quickly straightened the stem, locked it down, and got under way. Nobody else passed in the meantime! We had a sizable gap, and I just wasted it!! I could still see the group up ahead, and put the hammer down to catch up. A minute later I was on the ground after taking a sandy turn WAY too leaned over. Back up, I calmed down and paced. I never caught anyone, but held steady for the second lap. Ended up 3rd in the Expert 30-39. Podiums are good too.

  The last of the NMORS was Road Apple Rally, the oldest continual XC race in the country. October 4th. Home turf baby!  I ended up with the Expert/Semi-Pro lead pack until the last couple sandy climbs. We got spread out, but I was only 20 seconds behind Todd Bauer (my Expert 30-39 rival, NMORS series leader, also on a Superfly) on the dirt road back to the finish. I did my best to bridge, hoping my local practice of the final twisty singletrack might make a difference. No dice, but the results showed me only 10 seconds off of Todd’s 1st place time. So 2nd place will have to do. Like Lance says, every second counts when racing!

That was the end of all the official road and MTB races, but I noticed this little (not really very little) NM Endurance Series final epic down by Gallup. I was supposed to be getting my singlespeed back from repair soon, and a few Farmington SS’ers said they were going down. Sounds epic! 50 miles of unknown forest singletrack with one gear? Sure!

  Well, the guys from Farmington didn’t show. The campsite was FREEZING, and DARK, at 7 am, the official start time. No way, I thought from by sleeping bag. I waited till 8 am, so at least I had some sunlight. There was a small group from Pagosa Springs at the start line, some of which I knew.  After multiple wrong turns, leaving my companions with gears and full-suspension behind, forgetting to bring any gels, 2 Lara Bars, three bottles, one small Camelback, cramping legs and triceps, 32X17 gearing that was too much for the rocky climbs after the fourth hour, and a total of 5:41 hours, I happily rolled in. The mind said “its beer-thirty”, but the body said “water, sugar, FOOD!” I can’t remember the last time I was happier to see a finish line.

  Since this was the last of the Endurance Series, the local Gallup 2010 trail group put on a big party. They roasted pig and chicken Matanzas style all day, and fed every one fajitas. There were kegs of beer, and lot of people. Really fun! Most people were planning on partying all night, but I hadn’t planned for it, so I left about 8 pm to get home.  It was a very challenging ride, one that I learned much from. I hope to do it again next year.

The rest of October was Get as Much Singletrack in Before the First Winter Storm Hits Month. Many hours of fun SS’ing and MTBing in Cortez, Durango, and Farmington.

In another month it will be time to get the road bike out for the base training sessions.

That is all, you can go back to work now….

Keifer

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