Palos Meltdown Race ReportTuesday, October 30th, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Written by Get A Grip Cycles
By: Adam Kaplan
Wow. What a perfect day to ride mountain bikes. The rain the night before made the trails nice and tacky, and reduced the dust a lot. It was sunny and low 80 deg. temps with a light breeze.
Geoff Scott and I drove out to Palos with my wife and two daughters. The family made for great cheerleaders for the both of us. There were plenty of booths to check out and vendors for smoothies and hot dogs that made for a good lunch.
Registering was painless and Geoff and I got our numbers very quickly. No numbers for the jersey, as they used a RFID chip on the bike number plate for timing. Nice.
Geoff and Kristy raced the Sport class and did 2 laps. Kristy had a real look of determination on her face as I cheered her on in the first lap. Geoff just grinned and said “This is fun!” as he passed by. All the races started with a mild uphill and a lap around the grassy field, but that didn’t really help spread out the field. Geoff said he had to hike a bike around downed riders a few times before things opened up. He did his two laps and finished in the top third overall. He mentioned feeling like a real mountain biker now that he was becoming more confident holding his line and flowing through the technical spots. Great job Geoff!
I raced the Cat. 2 Comp class that raced 3 laps. I lined up right in the middle of the pack of 109 riders. After the Elite men and women went, we all started together. It was a bit of a struggle to find my own pace with so many other racers around and found I had to go slower than I wanted to in some sections due to simple congestion. After the first long lap, things opened up a bit and I found a good rhythm. Coming into the second lap, my oldest daughter gave me a bottle hand up that I promptly dropped, but Geoff was there to the rescue and got me the needed bottle on my next pass. The girls were a great cheering section!
At this point, I was trading off places with guys who were weaker on the single track, and stronger on the fire roads. I could tell these guys had some legs from road racing.
Second lap of the race, I found myself going faster through the single track and picking up quite a few places. It was important to ride strong on the multi-track in order to keep your place. As I came by a second time, Geoff tricked me into thinking I had yet another lap to go and this coming lap wasn’t the final one! I was getting fatigued and fell for it. I saw Kelly as I was fueling up on a gel and was encouraged by her cheering. I did let a few riders get past me as I tried to conserve a bit of energy for my “last” lap. As I got the line I started to go towards the lap route and Geoff yelled “you’re done!” and I toddled over the finish dazed and confused.
I finished 23rd out of 109 overall, and 13th out of 55 for my 30-39 age group. No mechanicals and great trail riding and conditions. Loved it!