Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cave Creek Cactus Classic

So I lined up a the Cave Creek Cactus Classic not really sure what to expect. I had a crappy workout on Friday, and was not quite feeling it.  Friends reminded me it was a beautiful weekend, and living in Arizona, best get out and ride!  A little more encouragement from the Iron Man and The Momma, and I had my bike in the car, headed for Cave Creek bright and early on Saturday...

I got to the desk, and Boris handed my Travis Pastrana's number...I figured that was a good sign! The route is one I am very familiar with, as it is one of the best trails around. 2 intense climbs, and wicked downhills that make your teeth rattle interspersed with sweet singletrack and just enough sand to remind you that yes, you're in the desert.  Looking up from the knobby every once in a while as the views were amazing. Life in paradise after all! (as i remind Yvonne, my paradise means riding in shorts in November...) 

Travis Pastrana's number.  Good luck?
The road roll out was a bit nervous - I avoided the two wrecks and seemed to be in the right place in the pack. The first climb is referred to as "chain breaker hill". About 1/2 way up the .3 mile 8-10% grade I found my legs and was wishing I had gone harder on the road, as I was stacking up behind a long line of riders. No worries though, this was a fun ride! I crested the climb, and followed my friend Pat Moty on the descent, going about as fast as I dared on the very rocky, bumpy, twisty track. This being Arizona, missing to the left...cactus. Miss to the right...cactus. So don't miss. 

Photo: 2 weeks in a row racing. Mud and tall pines to dust, rocks and Saguaros...
Don't Miss!  Cactus are sharp
Some wash riding and ripping flats later, I was about 2/3 of the way into the race. I was on the last big climb of the day, and was pretty spun out. I was pretty sure I would not make my goal time. I kept motivated by chasing a (very) fast woman from Bicycle Ranch, who seemed to know every great line on the route. Before long, I saw a little sign that said "uphill". It was helpful, because without it I don't know how i would have known i was indeed going straight up the side of a steep hill...clearly someone with a little sense of humor marked the course, and that is always appreciated! After the "uphill" we popped out from the trail, onto the road and the 2 mile sprint for home. 

I pulled my new friend from Bike Ranch about 2/3 of the way home, and I was finished. She jumped out, and got to the line about 5 seconds ahead of me. I feel like i did my good deed of the day. I crossed in 2:02! I was pretty psyched. 2:02 for 25 miles including some intense climbs was a heck of a lot better than I thought I would do...and I was damn happy I decided to race Saturday! 

The best part of Saturday though was supporting the grass roots race organized in Cave Creek, with the Flat Tire Bike Shop at it's heart. The Flat Tire and it's owner Kaolin are little treasures we have here in the valley, and they deserve every bit of support we can muster. Kaolin is an advocate, a racer, an awesome mechanic, and a really fantastic guy. I hope the C-4 gets big. Really big. Big enough for electronic timing...and sponsor swag. So when you have a chance to race, do it. Support your local race promoter, and put your wheel or sneaker on the start line. You never know when you'll be at the birth of the next great race

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