Castlewood is the shit

Posted on 7:36 PM by Schottler

I told myself I was going to take 2 weeks off the bike after the Rockbridge race... but I couldn't make myself do it. I spun twice this week for 1 hour each, with some openers the day before the race. I wasn't really planning on doing this race until Butthead, Hyland, Ethan, and Green Beans talked me into it. By the time we got to the race I still wasn't very into racing that day, but wasn't too concerned on where I would place... mainly because I didn't ride all week and I have never ridden at Castlewood before. I did put on some new Hutchinson Python UST Light (not very light, dont worry) tires.

The field was pretty stacked in the expert open and open 35+ with plenty of fast dudes, like Aaron Elwell (pro from KC who just had surgery on his hand a week before), Chris Ploch, Dave Breslin, John Rhines, Tim Kakouris, and a few others.

Once they said go, I had trouble clipping in and started off in about 5th place. On the first climb I saw Breslin, Ploch, and Aaron take off while I was stuck on a wheel with no room to pass. Once I finally got around I was able to chase them down and stick to their wheels to help guide me through a totally unfamiliar course, with Breslin pulling pretty hard and looking strong. About 3/4 of the way through the lap I heard the very familiar sound of air spewing from a tire and I was about to retire... but it was Breslin with the unfortunate flat. So it was down to the 3 of us and Aaron picked up the pace a bit to see how we would respond. At the end of this lap Aaron clipped his pedal on a rock and went flying over the handlebars with Ploch running into his bike, and I thankfully had enough time to stop.

Ploch and I got back at it again after rolling through the next lap and he picked up the pace a little more. I was with him up the first climb and managed to slide off the course at one section of the flowy decent and Ploch noticed and punched it to keep me off his wheel. I was at a distict disadvantage on this course since I have never ridden it, while it was Ploch's backyard. After losing his wheel, it was going to be hard to keep the same pace since I didn't know a lot of the secret fast lines. I hammered where I could and took plenty of risks with some sweet 2 wheel drifts on the descents to try and get some time back. Unfortunately I kept saying to myself "2nd place is good enough," which really isn't the best train of thought when battling for the lead. But considering how my previous races have gone, 2nd works fine. I put myself in a comfortable pace for the majority of the rest of the race and tried to ride as smooth as I could to keep away from any mechanicals. Rolled through the finish in 2nd place, 3 minutes behind Ploch, with the 2nd fastest overall time of the day.

Overall, I am happy with how everything went. I had the strength to get back on Ploch's wheel but I was lacking motivation to catch him... and my stupid iPod picking a bunch of shitty non-angry songs wasn't helping much. I didn't come to the race with much fire, but more of a want to come and race clean and smooth with no flats. This was his course, his race, with his team promoting it... he definately brought the speed and deserved the win, nice job Chris.

I may be spotted at Spanish Lake this weekend... we will see how the week goes.


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