On Sunday, round #1 of OMBC offroad series was held at Vultures Knob in Wooster, OH. Overall, the race went well. I did a little longer warm up than I would ordinarily of about 45 minutes with some good hard efforts.
The course was just the upper section and it was about 5.5 miles per lap. Experts would do 4 laps on the day. There were 3 guys I was watching in my category, Vet Expert (36+), Chris Skinner, Steve Schwartz and Bob Goetz. Skinner is a hammer, always one of the fastest experts, regardless of age. Schwartz is strong as well, I have never beaten him. These guys finished 1, 2, 3 in just about every race last year.
My category, Vet Expert (36+) started about 45 seconds behind the Open Expert class. I believe there were 8-10 in my category and I got the holeshot. I had a nice gap then crashed in the tight right hand turn entering the rock tunnel. I quickly got up and moving and kept my lead. I could see Skinner a ways back behind me. I held him off until just before the Goldfish Pond. Just as he past me, we were coming up on some of the slower experts. I was able to keep him in sight for most of the first lap. By the time, I came to the quarry section on lap 2, Skinner was coming down the big ramp. That was the last I would see him.
So now I am second and trying to stay smooth which can be difficult when your HR is over 170. Much of first lap and a half I was pegged at over 170 bpm. Thereafter I settled into an average HR of around 165, with some spiking on the climbs and some recovery on the downhills. I can see Schwartz about 30 second behind me. I hold him off for Lap 2 and part of lap 3. I think he passed me on lap 3. I raced much of laps 3 and 4 with Tim Moulds and Chip Meek. That helped me keep a decent pace and ahead of Goetz. I ended up 3rd place in Vet Expert, about 8-9 minutes behind Skinner and 2-3 minutes behind Schwartz. All in all a pretty good race, particularly because of my longer/hard warmup and a pretty hard 1:30 ride on Saturday.
Lost two bottles on bumpy downhills. Need to address that. Also, before the race I was screwing around with fork pressure and I ended up running it too soft, which caused my crash and a couple near crashes.
My time was right at 2:00 hours compares to Skinner at 1:50 and Dave Walker (the overall expert winner) at 1:43. Time wise, I was 16% behind Walker and and 9% behind Skinner. Last year at Big Valley, I was 21% behind the expert winner and 11% behind the Vet Expert Winner. So all in all a good day.