So, I haven’t been keeping up to date, I know. It’s the same story week after week. But….enough about that. Onto the race report……

The race started out with a trip to San Francisco. I left on Saturday morning and stopped by the Hearst Castle to check it out, since I had never been. Pretty interesting how much art the guy had accumulated inside the house. Then, I made the drive up to San Francisco. I stayed at the Galleria Park Hotel. I wouldn’t recommend it. The quality of everything was pretty low and everything seemed cheap and was broken. Sunday was spent being a tourist, walking around the city. Monday I went out for a ride and crossed the Golden Gate bridge. I did a loop over some hill which dropped me down onto Hwy 1 and I took that back around to the Golden Gate bridge. It was fun doing a road ride somewhere new.

Monday afternoon I left San Francisco and headed to Auburn. I stayed in Auburn at what had to be the most extravagant house there. It was complete with 2 private entrances, one which led to a private office building complete with 2 meeting rooms, 4 office rooms, a break room with a nearly full kitchen, and a 3/4 bathroom. It also had a workshop, which was probably 1,500 sq ft. 2 large decks for entertaining, essentially 2 kitchens, a bar, a theater, a few elevators, and much more that I didn’t see. This was base camp for the rest of the week.

I left from the house I was staying at for all of my rides while in Auburn. On Tuesday, I rode up Foresthill Road to Mesquite Ridge Road and descended that, then did everything backwards. Wednesday morning was a mountain bike ride. I descended down to the confluence of the north and south forks of the American River, then took some trails whose names I don’t know back up to Foresthill Road where I picked up the Foresthill loop. I took that around, crossed the road, and headed back down to the Foresthill bridge which I took to get back. Thursday became a rest day. I had to fix my bike up a bit so I cleaned it all up and made a list of what I needed form the bike shop for the race. Friday was my last ride before the race. I rode down and hopped on the Western States trail for a bit, until I realized it said no bikes, then I turned around and made it back as quick as I could.

Later on Friday, after my ride, I went out and did some whitewater rafting. It was a lot of fun. If I lived somewhere that actually had nearby rivers, I would probably get into whitewater rafting/kayaking. What an adrenaline rush! I don’t have any pictures from the race, so I will post the pictures I have from river rafting.

 

http://picasaweb.google.com/chrisavbranson/riverrafting/
Saturday was the big day (I will keep this pretty short).

I got up to the lodge a little late, around 5:30am. The race was supposed to start at 6am, so I skipped the meeting to get ready. I barely made it ready on time and found Frank right at the front of the start. I said “hi,” then didn’t expect to see him until the finish. The group took off pretty quick, I stayed near the front while on the road, then kind of feel back. The first part of the course was not hardtail friendly. It was rough enough that you couldn’t sit, but downhill enough that you couldn’t pedal while standing. So, I lost a lot of spots there, but once we started climbing I got them back.

I also had to stop in the beginning to deal with my asthma. Stopping was a pain. I was passed a ton and swarmed by mosquitos.

Once I settled into my pace, it calmed down. I would pass someone and get passed back. Leap frog. After mile 50 or so my passes finally started to stick. I received word that I was sitting around 15th at mile 65. I was really tempted to sit at the aid station for a while, they had a lot of food, but when I heard I was top 20 I trucked on. This is when the race got fun. The descents were technical, with lots of exposure, and fast! This is also where the race sucked. The climbs were steep, rocky, and were very long hike-a-bikes. I did alright on the first hike-a-bike and actually passed a couple guys, but I lost it on the second one.

Even though I had started to overheat and lose a few spots, I was still top 20 at the last aid station. I started feeling better and had cooled myself off and was riding really well again with only 5 miles to go! Until….

My tire decided it had enough. I got this bubble in my tire and it was hitting my seat post. I stopped and was trying to figure out what happened when I heard, “Hey Chris!” It was Frank! Turned out he had gotten lost after this bridge crossing and made a wrong turn. He gave me a spare tube (I had one, but he gave me one just in case). So, I decided to walk up the climb and then put a tube in to see if that would help my tire out, but I found a spot on the side of the trail that was suitable for changing a tire, so I changed it then. After being passed by 5-10 people while changing my tire, I finally was on the move again. I was only able to put about 15psi in the tube without getting that bubble back, so I put as much weight over the front as I could and finished the climb.

After the climb, we hopped onto the road. We climbed the road a little, made a left, and started descending down the road. We were then directed onto this little trail that paralleled the road a bit and we then hit the finish. Woooo!!!

Overall, I had a great race. I rode well throughout even though I overheated for a bit. I used some tips that I had taught myself through training, cooled myself off, and felt strong again. I just wish I wouldn’t have had the tire problem. I probably would have finished 10 minutes sooner without it. I guess that is just incentive to make it again next year. Plus, I heard they were going to include more single track next year, to move the finish down into Auburn.