As mentioned in my previous Blog, Sisters, OR is small rodeo town. So what better way to kick off the start of a bike race than with a leadout from a cowboy on a horse. Heaahh!
The start of the race meandered through several miles of doubletrack and even included a creek crossing :). Then, after crossing a fireroad the fun began. The Pro/Cat 1 riders would do 2 loops of the upper loop which consisted of nothing but fast, rocky, loose singletrack... and an occasional view which I happened to sneak in.
Matt Russell and I were riding in 4th and 5th place from the get go. We were on the heels of Sheppard, Thompson, and Nichols but after 30 min slowly began to loose their wheels. Matt and I stayed together the entire race until the final 8 miles; Russell made a wrong turn and did an extra loop of the top section :(. I tried to yell to him but he didn't hear me. It was a crazy intersection where some riders had to go left and others straight. Needless to say he wasn't too happy after the race, but he was riding very strong.
With about 4-5 miles left in the race, the course hit the "Eagle's Nest" section, which was a fairly steep and very rocky section. With several switchbacks in this section, I could actually see the 3rd place rider (Nichols) just ahead of me. This gave me a little extra boost to push a little harder. I thought I could have closed the gap and caught him but I never did. I finished in 4th, 30 sec behind 3rd and almost 5 minutes behind Sheppard who won yet another race.
Considering this was the first mountain bike race in Sisters, OR I would have to say that it was a huge success. The turnout was great (roughly 45 Pro/Cat 1's and over 300 + total), and post race activities that pleased all. The only glitch in the race I observed was the upper loop that the Pro/Cat 1's did twice and other did once. On the 2nd loop we were having to pass numerous riders who started later in different classes. Lots of bottlenecking and some frightened riders. I think it would be best if we didn't do that loop twice or added some additional section/s so that on the 2nd loop we wouldn't have the chaos that we did this year. The winning time was 1:45:36 so it is definitely a course that could add some additional mileage/time.
Cateye MSC-HR20 Statistics:
1:50:36 Race Time
1475 Calories Burned
23 % of Calories Burned from Fat
180 Max HR
165 Avg HR
Here are the top 5 overall:
1. Chris Sheppard 1:45:39.4
2. Ben Thompson 1:46:36.8
3. Brett Nichols 1:49:54.3
4. Sloane Anderson 1:50:35.5
5. Steve Carwile 1:52:14.1