I raced the 21st Annual Cool Mountain Bike Race in Cool, CA and won the 19-34 Cat. 1 group as well as getting 2nd overall. What a race! The turnout wasn't as stacked and large as last year, but I guess the mud really turned people away, and boy was it muddy. I started out really strong and paced myself pretty well throughout the 10 mile, three lapped course. It featured a good amount of climbing, and it felt really good to open up my gaps with each hill crest. Just happy to know I've still got my climbing legs.
1st place hit the gas early on, and we never saw him again. I went back and forth with a couple of guys at the start, all of us chasing down 2nd place. I just assumed he was a pro, and told myself to race my own race. If I catch him even better. Little did I know he was in my same category. I didn't know until we crossed the finish line. Had I not dug deep I would have disappointingly found myself on the 2nd podium spot.
I slowly caught up to him entering the last lap. By the first steep climb I knew he had cracked, so I turned the screw on him a bit and made my move. My attack stuck, so I made sure I had enough in the tank to hold off any counter attacks. I had a healthy lead by the last lap, but I chanced a glance behind a few times to make sure I was in the clear.
The course was so muddy. By the last lap I was caked in mud. The trails towards the finish got sloppier by the foot. I bobbled in a few sections, but rode a flawless race. The photo above is obviously the before shot. I didn't take a photo after the race, as I quickly found a communal water hose and washed my bike as well as myself off before changing out my kit.
The race was fun. I'm not sure if I'd do it again, but I thought the trails were fun enough. I did like the amount of climbing and ample opportunities to pass. I didn't like how long it took to get through awards. There were a ton of kids, which was really great, but it took up at least an hour or so to congratulate every single kid that raced. They are the future of our sport, and I'm happy enough there's a great event for them and everyone else.
- Near the end of each lap is a large bog. Stay on the high line and out of trouble.
- At the very end is a spectator puddle about three feet deep. Stay to the right to go around it.
- 2014 Specialized Epic Expert World Cup (Size: Medium)
- Front Tire: Specialized Fast Trak Control 29x2.0"
Rear Tire: Specialized Renegade Control 29x1.95"