Had the pleasure of racing at home this weekend in the Homage to Ice. A race put on by Dan Marshall of Substance Projects. I've been trying to get to one of his events for a while and finally got the chance. It was worth the wait, great organization, great course considering the conditions which were a mix of everything from snow, ice, sand, gravel.
Arriving to it felt like going to a race from days gone by. The setup was simple and functional just the essentials for a fun MTB race. These kinds of races used to populate the race calendar like weeds. Bike races for the sake of bike races. Don't get me wrong the quality and level of racing going on at the o-cups and canada cups is awesome but its nice to know there are still semi grassroots events happening and being supported.
The weather has been just nuts the past couple winters and these early season races are a challenge for sure. The course was designed to keep the volunteer built singletrack from being destroyed so it consisted mostly of double track and a good solid chunk of gravel road. With one really nice south facing buff dry piece of singletrack.
Which lent itself to some road esque type pack racing. Ergo, it lent itself to me showing why I shouldn't be a road racer. After the 1st lap and everyone settling into their paces and shaking out the cobwebs a group of about 8 formed up for the 1st 8-9 km's of gravel access and gravel road. After one lap of about 46 minutes, I found myself out front with a gap after the piece of singletrack. Contrary to the advice I gave to my athletes before the race about not dangling off the front, I proceeded to sit out front of the group of 6-7 guys heading onto the faster open sections of the course. This early in the season I knew it would be a long shot but opted to try to make it work.
Managed to stay out front and felt pretty good till about 4 km to go when I hit the proverbial wall, hung on to 3rd as I got cobbled up within about 750meters to go by 2 riders. It was a really good test of my early season fitness and gave me a lot to consider in getting ready for the upcoming season.
Good first race on the new Revolver, it rode as expected and I can't wait to get it onto some more singletrack..... if the snow ever melts.
Thanks to Dan Marshall and Substance Projects for hosting an awesome event.