The Weekend: Pity Claps and Win #1

Posted on 5:19 PM by Schottler

I did two races this weekend, the Hermann criterium and the Bone Bender 3/6 hour MTB race in Smithville MO.

Trying something new this weekend, instead of my secret "openers" the day before my races, I decided to race a crit. It only lasts about an hour, but figured it was probably the best way to get my legs and cardio ready for a beating on Sunday. I drove down to Hermann, MO for an afternoon crit and try to help my teammates David Henderson and Ethan Froese. Dave was in 3rd position and Ethan in 6th, so I talked with them about what I can do help and our general race strategy. The field wasn't huge, only about 35 people, but everyone there was strong. If you haven't seen the course before, it has a big climb and a super fast and VERY sketchy decent.

We took off and the first 2 laps were pretty quick, coming into lap 3 at the top of the hill Zach Reed and Nick Coil attacked and went up the road and Ethan immediately said "go now Schottler" so I stood up and chased... hard. They were both working together in the break and were were riding away from the group. Reed saw me bridging up, about 5 bike lengths behind at this point, and dropped the hammer. At the top of the hill, after a lap at full effort in chase mode, I realized I couldn't do it. I looked back and saw the main group coming back and sat up and got in and tried to recover. Next lap on the decent, I hit a huge dip in the road and my bars spun down... shit. I kept it upright and didn't crash anyone out, but threw me off my game and I had to ride to the pit to get them straightened and tightened. Buddy, the USAC official said "sorry, no free lap, you are going to have to chase," which is what I expected to hear. I was in no mans land and my legs felt like poo. I knew I wasn't going to win, but still tried to put in a good effort to get ready for Sunday's race. I rode the hill the rest of the race way in the back, getting pity claps and cheers as I rode up, pretty humiliating, well actually silence is more humiliating, so thank you everyone that was cheering. Dave took 4th and Ethan took 9th, nice work guys, especially after the TT. I should also mention, which I didn't realize in the race, my shifter got turned in, which tightened my front brake and made it rub the entire race... didn't really need that handicap.

I woke up at 5am on Sunday to eat and drive to KC for the mountain race, rocking some new Rammstein. I've raced here before and had a good experience, so I thought I would come back and try it again. There were at least 300 people there, all ready for some single track. The start was Le Man's style, lay the bikes down and "run" to them. This was a huge cluster, I was on the front line and got pushed back to the 4th row by a bunch of dudes that knew they were going to win if they got into the single track first. I sprinted around a good number of people on the first paved section and had to battle and throw elbows to get into the single track at about 30th place.

I spent the whole first lap telling people to get out of my way, just knowing the leaders were getting bigger and bigger gaps as I was on a nice aerobic bike ride through the woods. I burnt a lot of matches sprinting past people through the grass and off the trail. It actually took some arguing to get around people, I was getting very agitated. Anyway, I finished the first 11.5 mile lap in about 5th position overall.

Lap 2 and 3 I was still in chase mode. I caught up to Jeff Winkler who was doing the 6 hour race and talked with him for a while. Most of the race I had no idea where any of the riders were, starting so far back and winding through the woods, and then starting to lap riders on the 2nd lap left me confused. Coming into the laps I asked the officials if anyone was in front of me and what the gaps were, no response, awesome. Volunteers at checkpoints and the people I was lapping were giving random guesses for time gaps, ranging from 3 minutes to 10 minutes. Apparently there was 1 guy up the path from me, Kent McNiell (finished 2009 Leadville in 13th place.) Kent drove down from Omaha to do this race, and I had no idea he was up there.

I was really only expecting to do 3 11.5 mile laps here in 3 hours, but at the end of lap 3 my time was 2:39... shit. Thankfully Andy Schutte was there and gave me a couple more gu's and Jim Davis (Team Seagal) handed me some bottles. During lap 4 I was on the edge of total meltdown, feeling my legs about to start cramping. I slowed down a bit after someone told me Kent was 7 minutes up, I couldn't make up 7 minutes, and I knew I had a healthy gap on the person behind me. I came through the finish, 4 laps, 46 miles, in a time of 3:35, averaging 12.8 mph on nearly all single track. Pretty fast pace for a mountain bike, I was the only person in my age group (34 & U) to do 4 laps, which had me win by over half an hour. I know that if I didn't spend the first 2 laps trying to chase down the leaders, and got to start with them, I would have won the overall in this race. Kent only finished 2 minutes ahead of me, rats. But he was in the 35 & up category, so I won my race. Yippee.

I came home with a bottle of wine and a nice payout for my efforts.

I was actually dead for about 15 minutes after this race: (Note seat bag is open... it did this magically, lost a tube, c02 dispenser, chain tool, and 2 chain links)

Still trying to decide what to race next weekend. It might be on the road both days, Tour of St. Louis. Or drive 4 hours for Tour De Tick, or drive 12 hours down to Georgia for a US Cup Pro XCT race and get some upgrade points.


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