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Battle (the dust) at Barlow

"It is not so difficult.  Go flat-out before the corner and then go flat-out again."

-Tommi Mäkinen, four-time World Rally Champion

Today I raced the Battle at Barlow, a traditional course east of Portland on the grounds of a high school.  The course was dry and dusty, consisting of some open, although bumpy, grass sections, one bit of asphalt, and a few twisty singletrack climbs.  The centerpiece of the course was a two-barrier descending dismount, followed by a steep run-down, a wooden bridge, and then a series of tall railroad ties as a run-up.  Confused?  So was I when I hit it at full speed.

I started several rows back, due somewhat to bad luck, but mostly to laziness.  This was a mistake.  On such a fast, twisty course, it would prove very difficult to make up time on those ahead, even once I found my rhythm.  The race started fast and within 30 seconds I was at my LTHR.  Today would prove to be another data anomaly as was able to maintain a 181bpm average for the entire hour.  Again, I was able to maintain a higher-than-normal average for a couple of reasons:

  1. It was warm again, and this always elevates HR slightly at a given effort, and,
  2. I was very fresh, having done very little riding in the previous week in order to try to fully recover from a pulled muscle in my left leg.

So, although I didn't feel like I was on a great day, I can see from my data graph that I was able to pace myself well and do a very good effort:

Barlow_data_2012
Battle at Barlow CX: Red is Heart Rate data, blue is speed data.  The dashed red line is at 178bpm.  Click the image to magnify.

A dropped chain on the third time up the railroad ties cost me about 7 places.  I think I managed to get a couple of those spots back, but I never saw the other guys.  This guaranteed that I would be out of the top 10 on the day.  One pays dearly for small mistakes in cyclocross.

It wasn't the greatest race ever, but I made the best of it and managed to learn a few lessons along the way.  I also had the mid-race pleasure of seeing the always-friendly Ira Ryan and that awesome smile.  He looked so happy to be racing his bike.

Next up:  Heiser Farm CX and the Cross Crusade opener.

Photo updates here as they happen:

img_3147
Comin' in (sorta) hot

 

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Leading a small bunch around one of the asphalt corners

 

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Over the triple barriers



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