Bump N' Grind

Posted on 7:13 PM by Schottler

My buddy Brent Davidson and I headed out on a 10 hour drive to Birmingham Alabama Friday at about 3pm. This was the 15th annual Bump N' Grind mountain bike race, which is race #3 on the US Cup Pro mountain bike schedule. Saturday morning we went out to preride the 17 mile course, which turned out to be some of the best single track I have ever ridden. It was relatively flat with a lot of fast bermed turns, and a few rocks and roots. The race course started in a parking lot and lead us through some cyclocross like terrain through a park onto a road and leading into single track. There were two gravel road sections, the first was about 3/4 miles long and the second was a very long 5 mile climb. There were a few technical sections that could be ridden pretty fast... or slow and crash into some bigger rocks/trees/spectators. Overall, the course has been very well maintained and the endless bermed high speed turns made the course extremely flowy and enjoyable.

We decided to get to the race early, at about 7:15am to set up the GT tent and get everything ready. Apparently everyone else decided to get there way before that, which meant very little room to park and set anything up. There was no room to set up a work area, so the tent was set up over my car with room to hang our bikes on.

I spent about 30 minutes warming up before my race, and nearly missed my start time. I heard over the speakers "Men's Cat 1 19-29 starting in 1 minute," so I rushed to the start with 10 seconds to go. I started the race in dead last, out of 25 people. I was able to sprint past about 7 guys or so at the start to get some better positioning before we hit the single track. I reached down to get some water and realized my bottle disappeared.... great, I love dehydration. It was a long single file race for about 20 minutes until we reached the first gravel double track section, which ended up in a long pace line with a gap opening with 7 guys in the lead. I moved into the other lane and was able to pass the group to chase down the break before we got back into single track. Once in the single track I was caught up with the lead group. Once riding with them for a little while my chain fell off the big ring and got caught under the pin on my chain ring, tearing up my cranks and causing me to stop... which let everyone pass me again. After about 30 seconds of bending my chain back around the pin, and getting functional again, I was back on course... and then doing this again about 5 minutes later. Unfortunately the design of the 2x9 crankset and the chain rings won't catch my chain falling off and let me pedal it back on, only fuck everything up. Once we hit the long 5 mile climb I was able to open it up and pick more riders off again. The neutral bottle hand off saved my life half way up the climb... guzzled an entire bottle... which was a bad idea. The rest of the first lap I was able to bring back a lot of riders and make up some time. By the start of the second lap it was me and two other guys riding together, none of us knowing what position we were in, however one of the riders was the only 30-39 racer that passed us. Once reaching the big climb again he was able to pull away from us and I broke away from the other guy in my category, with no one else in sight. I should also mention that my seat post has been lowering more and more this whole race, by the time I reached this climb it was down 3 inches, making me ride like a little kid with my knee's bent, keeping me from producing very much power. The quick release on seat post clamp apparently can't clamp far enough to make up the tolerances in the shim for my undersized seat post. I just locked out my fork and spent a large amount of time standing up, hammering up the long climb... with still no one in view. Back into the single track I was able to open it up, railing all of the turns with my Maxxis Crossmark UST Tubeless tires hooking up like crazy. This tire selection was definitely the best idea i've made in a while. There were quite a few spectators in the last 5 miles of single track which was very encouraging, especially while they cheer and scream when you clear large sections of rock drops at a stupid hard trail destroying high speed. Towards the end of the race there was no one in view in front or back so I rolled through the finish... with no clue on where I finished.

Once the results were posted they showed me finishing 4th place at 2:28 , which I am pretty happy about considering my bad luck. The 3rd place finisher was only 1 minute ahead of me, the winner was only 4. These close times made me upset with how everything went down in the race. If I didn't spend the whole race trying to make up for the mechanicals, horrible start position, and battling my lowering seat, I really believe I could have cleaned up the race. But that's how racing goes, it was my first of the year, and first intense ride on my bike, so now I know what to work on. I still came out with $115, which I can't argue with.

We stayed and watched the women's and men's pro race, which was amazing. All the big riders were there, it was great watching them kill each other. Leaving at about 7pm, getting us back into Columbia at 5:30am on Monday. Overall, it was an awesome weekend, very well put on race, and I will definitely be doing it again next year.


Jasenka said...
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Will said...

Wanna ride the race course on Saturday? Let me know.

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