Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Growled at by the Growler..Two's the Number at Teva

Josiah and I ended up in what seem to be our usual spots on the Teva Games Ultimate Mountain Challenge Podium.
Stories about the Teva Games:

Summer is in swing in Colorado!  School is out, the trails are dry (too dry?), forest fires are burning, and little boys (and their dads) are excited for camping trips.

Wyatt and I kicked things off over Memorial Day with a trip to Gunnison for the Original Growler mountain bike race.  We took the trailer for some camping, and enjoyed catching up with Jon Brown, Brian Wickenhauser, and other old friends in Gunni.  My informal study shows that New Zealand is probably about the only place in the world that has a higher world class athlete to general population ration than Gunnison, and it's always fun to go there.

Ten minutes into the Growler, when I got caught on a corner and fell to about 80th place and had to crank up a hill before taking on some of the most challenging singletrack around, I remembered just why the Growler is one of the most challenging mountain bike races in Colorado.  The terrain is unrelenting, with short, pumpy climbs peppered with technical, high-desert-style riding.

The first two hours felt like a shock to my body and riding "mind," and I was glad to finally feel a bit comfortable almost halfway into the race.  I moved up in the field for a few hours, and then held my spot to the finish, coming in around 5:57.  It was a real upper-body and back workout.

Wyatt and I had a great weekend!

A week later, Amy was back in town and we made the yearly family pilgrimage to Colorado's shrine of adventure sports, the Teva Mountain Games.  I usually compete in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the Games.  The event involves four separate races over two days: Downriver Paddle, Cross Country MTB, 10k Trail Run, and Road Bike Time Trial.  The event fits very well with Josiah's strengths, and I had finished second to him four times in a row going into this year.

The water level was very low in Gore Creek, and technical paddling conditions allowed me to gain about 45 seconds on Josiah after a 24-minute paddle.  Things went south quickly, however, on the mountain bike when Josiah cranked out an exceptional ride and I pedaled mediocre at best.  As Josiah moved impressively through the competitive pro field (we started two minutes after the full mtb field), I lost a few minutes to him on each of three laps.  By the end of the mtb race, I knew winning the overall title would require a minor miracle the next day.

Day Two brought the 10k Trail Run and Road Bike Time Trial.  I felt pretty good on the run, which ended up being more than 10k (probably helpful for me).  Josiah and I finished 5th and 6th, respectively, after two guys in front of us took a wrong turn and dropped out.  I was 13 seconds behind Josiah on the run, which is a pretty good finish.  Unfortunately, the new rules meant that we were out of the running for prize money in individual events.

The TT always brings a lactic acid-filled grind at the end of the weekend.  I felt decent and finished in just over 31 minutes, with which I was fairly happy.

Two was the number, again, at the Teva Games, and we had a good time.  In the women's race, Sari Anderson raced well to top Gretchen Reeves and Sara Tarkington.  All three are superb athletes and people, and it was fun to follow their racing.

I look forward to the Bailey Hundo in two weeks, followed by the Curt Gowdy XTERRA and Firecracker 50 MTB before heading to Brazil for the Brasilia Multisport on July 21.

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