Monday, July 9, 2012

Race Report: Firecracker 50

The Firecracker 50 has been one of my favorite races of the year since I began endurance racing, but since I have the Breckenridge 68 a week and half later which is more of a priority, I decided to not do the whole 50.  Instead, I decided to do the race as a duo with my good friend Don.  Don is more of the casual rider, and this was actually his first mountain bike race (which I didn't know until after the race; awesome first though!).  My only goal was to pound out the fastest lap I could to give Don ample time to complete his lap before cut off.  That is exactly what I did, but not without some complications.  The first complication was that I had forgotten my saddle bag which had my CO2 inflator so instead I stuffed Don's frame pump in my jersey pocket.  Complication number two happened during a downhill section were there was a slower rider in front of me who I attempted to make a quick move to get around, but instead took a spill which caused the frame pump to fall out.  I have never raced this race without getting a flat, which brings us to complication three.  I was riding along on some sweet singletrack when I heard a loud noise coming from rear tire.  The culprit making the noise was a decent sized nail in my tire... that's right, a freakin' nail in the middle of the forest.  Why was there a nail in the middle of the forest you may ask?  Well, because several of the trails are on old mining trails and this one in particular had a old metal mining shoot running along side the trail.  And to our last complication, it had been awhile since I had put some sealant in my tire so a tube was needed.  Without a pump my only option was to run until I found someone in the race crew because no one was going to stop to help out.  Luckily it wasn't too far off before I did find someone, but it still cost me 10-15 minutes.  I completed the lap around 2:15:00 which considering my difficulties was pretty good.  Don was up, so I figured I'd keep him company for awhile since the first six miles is up a dirt road.  Once we hit the singletrack, I figured I had already climbed so I might as well reward myself... then Don wanted me to help support him on the second and only other big climb... might as well reward myself some more... just did the only other big climb anyway... so much for only doing half the race!  Yep, I ended up doing the whole fifty!  For the sake of proper recovery, probably not the best idea.  For the sake of having a blast riding at a casual pace with a good friend, fantastic idea!  I wasn't going race pace for the second lap so I'm just going to consider it a long cool down.  Besides, it was fun seeing Don really tearing up the downhills.  On one really rocky dirt road downhill section that had singletrack going through it, Don chose the rock garden to blaze around a line of racers with a slow person leading the pack.  I was absolutely stunned... and then I shifted in my third ring and followed suit.  Good times!  Our official time was 5:29:06.2 and were 61st out of 85.  Not too bad at all for the guy that found one of the only nails out there and the first timer.  You couldn't rip the smile off my face after that race.  We both had an absolute blast!  Even enjoyed a good brew or two afterwards.  HFDB!

Chasing down my friend Don