Saturday, September 08, 2012
I've said it before but I'll say it again: Maplelag is the must do race of the season. Sara and I have traveled the states to many race venues and haven't found anything as family friendly as Maplelag. Furthermore, the trails are second to none for stage racing (Jay Richards has also added bermed terrain to mix it up).
Sara, Kiera and I headed up to the Swanson cabin at Otter Tail Lake on Friday afternoon. We got there a little too late for Kiera to play with Stella so that was a bit of a bummer. The girls got to play a bit before we headed out for the Saturday time trial and short track though. Both Kiera and Stella are three and they get along really well. Stella is a full on dare-devil and Kiera is Ms. Cautious so they make a great pair. We are hopeful that Stella's Strider bike riding skills have inspired Kiera to ride hers or at least give the bike a go without the training wheels.
Once we arrived at Maplelag the race was on to find someone to watch Kiera. Thankfully, Maria and Meredith we up for the challenge :) Like always, the time trial hurts the most no matter how well or poorly the warm up goes. Both of us felt slow and flat but we did alright. The course was super fast and not a touch of morning dew could be found.
In the late afternoon we toed the line for the short track. If you're interested in seeing some great video footage, check out skinnyski Jay decided to mix things up a bit and tweak the course. During the warm up laps I didn't care for the new addition, but I liked it better than the old course once we started racing.
The women were mixed in with the comp men so it was the battle that I'd hoped to watch. Jenna got away when Chloe went down very early in the race and had a comfortable gap to the finish. Sara and Chloe rode together for much of the race until Chloe turned up the throttle and rode away for second place. It would have been nice to see a women's only race (all women in all categories?) because the race tactics would change. Maybe next year?
In the men's race, things started out pretty slowly and we had a large group. It whittled down as the laps ticked by and by the end there were four of us. I sat at the back while Brendan and Travis did all the work. I looked at Paul's rear wheel for most of the race and didn't have enough to hold on to those three to sprint it out at the finish. The skinnyski video has Travis winning by a decent margin.
The XC on Sunday went alright. The women rode one lap and they were all together at the start. Jenna went down early, Sara a little further into the lap, and Chloe also sampled the soil at some point. The ladies were all within a minute and a half or so of each other so it was a good race. Chloe ended up winning the overall but a smidgin over Jenna and Sara was further back in third.
In the men's race we did two laps. Travis busted a chain early on going up the steep, loose climb on the ski trail chasing after Brendan. I slotted in behind Justin for awhile before going by and settling into to second place. I was going a pretty comfortable pace for the first lap and Michael M., Justin and Paul were content to let me lead. As soon as we started the second lap, the group went by me when I had to stop to get a fresh bottle. I chased back on but he yo-yoing was on and Michael and Paul got away while I chased solo. I rode by myself until Sam O. caught me and pulled me in to the finish.
Racing was fun, but hanging out with everyone is the icing on the cake. Signe, Doug and Anne's 2 week old baby is a delight and super cute. Doug didn't have much in the legs but he kept coming back for more which is impressive considering Signe was just born.
MONT du LAC
Sara won in the smallest women's pro/exert field I've seen in a long time. Diana McFadden gets the tough as nails award for the weekend since she raced the day before in the WORS Cup.
I blew up pretty hard with a little over a lap to go and lost a good chunk of time and a few places by the end. However, I did squeak out a win over Brendan - less than 2 tenths of a second - and took home the State Championship Super D title!