Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Fat Tire Festival Test Run #2

With some apprehension I signed up for this year's Fat Tire Festival in Sport class, which is a week away.  Sport class means three laps, like I did a few years ago.  I'm concerned for several reasons: I haven't been riding quite enough to say I'm training, the course is different than past races and I have yet to complete three laps in practice, and racing always makes me nervous.  Being the only uni racing with hundreds of mountain bikers doesn't help.

So this morning I rode the course again.  Last weekend I rode the same course with Dustin and we stopped more than I normally would.  This time I rode with more urgency and tried to keep moving.

I'm proud to say I made it 2.7 miles of the 3.5 mile course before my first dismount, near the beginning of Helix, which is the final significant climb of the course.  I rested for a minute and continued, but had to dismount again further up Helix, again because of the climbing difficulty.  I finished the lap with only those two dismounts.

My thought was to ride 3 laps, though I knew it'd be hard work.  Thunderstorms were likely today, but less likely in the morning, so I got up early to ride.  There was some light rain before and during parts of the first half of my first lap, and then it started coming down harder.  The trail was getting slick in places.  I'm not sure I could have done three laps today, so I was kind of content with getting rained out.  I only did the one lap.

Should I try to ride a three lap test run before the race next Sunday?  Maybe two?

I ride my 24" at Dryer.  Last night I swapped in my geared wheel.  I've been enjoying the lighter weight of my non-geared hub, but I figured it might be worth having for the segment of the course around the field at the top of Dryer and the sport field at the start/finish area.  But after the climb just before the top field I was content to concentrate on staying mounted, conscious, and breathing.  It wasn't until the last 20%, before reentering technical trail, that I actually used it, for like 30 seconds.  Today I didn't ride into the sports field but I'll have to in the race.  I know this area is the typical grassy, flat yet bumpy terrain that I despise.  I'll probably feel like staying in low gear, but with an audience I'll feel like I'm going too slow and so shift to high gear for the minute or so before I am back into the trails.

Should I lug around my geared hub for two or three minutes of a 50 minute lap?

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