Whiplash 2009, Race #6 Cinders, August 2009
The season is halfway over and I am a distant third in the points in the Sr Pro class going into yesterdays race at the Cinders in Flagstaff. I could be higher but I missed a race with the death flu back in March. The last race was in Page in June. I forgot to post an update but I finished towards the back of my class in this race because I didn't get my quad jetted correctly for the higher elevation.
The Cinders is a very rough course because it is full of whoops, tree roots, whoops, and it is harder to breathe at 7000 feet.
It is hard to pass at the cinders because the course can be narrow. I am a slow starter but at this race I decided to make a conscious effort to go out full blast, get the lead right away and if I run of out energy then so be it, at least I tried. This year the course was a 10 mile loop and the race was time limited to 2 hours.
They decided to try out a Le Mans style start, 4 at a time. We lined up 10 feet in front of our quads with the engines off and our killswitch tethers in hand. Then they wave the flag, we run to the quad, put in the tether, start the engine and take off. I started in the first group of 4 in my class, the 2nd group would start 20 seconds behind us. The green flag dropped and I got to my quad first and I just about had the engine started and was ready to take off first but the quad died leaving me last off the line by a good 5-10 seconds. So much for my fast start. I still forced myself to ride hard right away and I passed one guy within a quarter mile and I was close to the next guy. I kept up a good pace and stayed just behind the dust of the guy in front of me. The guy in front of me was #40 who is currently 2nd in the points.
Towards the end of lap 1 one of the guys (quad #7) who started on the line behind me caught me and passed me. He isn't in the points chase but it still sucked to get passed. Coming through the pits Adam told me on the radio that Nick #66 was right behind me. He is 1st in the points and he has been riding really well lately. He caught and passed me a few miles later, I wasn't sure I could beat him on this course but I was still bummed out to be sitting in 5th place already. I was really hoping this wasn't going to turn into another crappy race like the last 2 where I finished out of the top 3.
I was still occasionally catching glimpses of #40 out ahead of me but I wasn't able to gain any ground on him. On Lap 2 I went by #21 who was broke down on the course which moved me up to 4th. Around this time my stupid camelpack nozzle came off so I had to keep the hose in my mouth and bite down on it to keep the water from pouring out. The next few laps I just kept riding hard and trying to be smooth all while staying just below the puking threshold of physical exertion. At the beginning of lap 4 I saw #40 up ahead and I caught and passed him easily. So now I was in 3rd. Over the radio Adam told me that #7 was 2 minutes ahead of me. At the end of lap 4 I stopped for gas and they told me I was a minute behind and I was in 2nd place. I didn't believe them since I never saw or passed Nick #66.
In the middle of lap 5 I saw #7 up ahead. I gained ground on him and decided to just gun it up a whooped out hill. I pinned in it 4th and made the pass, then we went through a long valley that has a lot of whoops. I was trying to show #7 I had a lot of energy left so I pinned it in 5th through the whoops, easily going faster than I had all race through that section. I kept my head down and made it to the finish where I didn't see a checkered or a white flag. I was exhausted and I mumbled something to the flagger while biting down on my camelpack hose and apparently he understood me and told me there was one lap left.
I wasn't sure if I could believe him since I didn't see the official white flag waving. On the radio Adam was reminding me that I needed to beat #7 by over 20 seconds in order to win since he had started on the row behind me. But all I heard was 20 seconds so I thought #7 was right behind me. So on Lap 6 I kept my head down and tried to ignore the giant blisters forming on my left hand. By this point I had lapped over half the field and I was still making my way through lapped traffic. I occasionally glanced back but I never saw #7. I left a little bit in the tank on my way to the finish line just in case I had to do another lap and I was elated to see the checkered flag waving. It was a great feeling to win after all the negatives I was feeling earlier in the race. I was also EXHAUSTED.
Turns out I had passed #66 earlier in the race when he was in the pits changing a flat. I ended up winning by a minute and 6 seconds. My blister prevention under gloves had the entire palm ripped out on the left hand and my hand is nice and chewed up right now. The two guys ahead of me in the points finished outside the top 3 so there is still a chance I can move up in the standings by the end of the year.
Oh yeah the overnight low in flaggstaff was 45!! It was 70-75 during the race! One of the guys got the UFC PPV at his camp and showed it on a big inflateable projector screen it was sweet.
The next race is one my favorites in Snowlfake/Heber az on Sept 5th. Thanks to my parents and Adam for all the help.