June 17, 2013

Biltz 2 the Barrel

Photo: Lasala Images
The image above captures the true spirit of The Blitz 2 the Barrel.  Smiles, good people, sweet single track, and above all else, a lot of fun!

The Blitz is a race I never thought I would love.  But things have changed and I LOVE IT.  The most fun mountain bike race I have ever done, it is soley about bringing together good energy, fast riders and a community that loves bike racing and beer drinking.

The Blitz course starts 18 miles out of town, and ends at 10 Barrel Brewery - with a beer chug, of course. The first 50-60 mins of the race is the sweet single track, including a few technical features and some short, punchy climbs. The last 10 minutes is asphalt, heading back into town.  And then the beer chug.

The race got off to a rough start when Sue and I tangled handlebars off the start line and had to work our butts off to make up lost time and get around slower rider on Funner.  Sue, Alice and I were together crossing Century and heading down Storm King.  We were catching other riders and I had to be strategic about making passes so I wouldn't loose Alice's wheel - I was following too close, made a couple mistakes and a small gap opened up.

Photo: Lasala Images
Coming into Tetherow, I didn't take the Big Air jump, instead opting for the longer, penalty route.  I had no idea what place I was in, but knew I needed to make up some ground.  Head down, I just started hammering.  I caught one girl after another, and was able to drop them quickly.

Turning onto Skyliner, I caught Sue.  I charged ahead of her, but the headwind was strong and she jumped on my wheel.  I was going as hard as I could, trying to drop her, but sitting in my draft, she held on tight.  I knew I was using a lot more energy than she was, but I didn't want to slow up.  I knew the other girls were close behind and wasn't willing to risk getting caught by playing a game of tactics.  Up the final rise, I stood up.  This was my last chance to get away.  Sue stuck like glue; I couldn't shake her.

Coming out of the final round-about, Sue came around me, charging to the finish.  She grabbed her glass, I grabbed mine.  We started chugging.  Sue came out on top - and as we both tried not to puke, I asked - "Where did we finish?".  2nd and 3rd.  Holy cow. High-fives and hugs, covered in dust and beer.

Last year I finished 4th, this year, 3rd.  Incremental improvements and hard work. Things are coming together.

Post race smiles - honored to be a part of this community!