...way outside of my expectations! Leading up to it teammates and those who raced/ridden these mtb trails raven on and on about not missing the Kansas Fat Tire Festival so with a couple choices for the past weekend (Velotek GP in Lawrence) how could I pass it up.
Met up with 360 Racing teammate Doug Long and his friend Wes Watkins Saturday morning in the KC area and headed west of Wilson Lake (past Salina and just short of Hays, KS). Driving into the state park all you see is a lake and tons (and I mean tons) of single track carved in all over the place. Met up with Lyle (another teammate), set up camp and hopped on the bikes to explore a little and loosen the legs.
I decided to race the marathon event Saturday evening and then 'race' Sunday's XC also. Since I knew I would not contend for a podium spot on Sunday with the big boys (who come to find out have big toy HAULERS) I was there to get in more base mileage so double it up was on tap.
Lined up in a pretty light marathon field on a 12 mile course and was really hoping to only have to do three laps. I rode the Trek Rig single speed with a 32/18 and it worked out pretty good. I led for most of the 1st lap riding a fairly easy tempo in the 85*+ temps knowing I did not want to burn up early and this allowed a group of four of us to stay together. By the end of lap 1 I was about 30 seconds behind the leader, but the bad news was we were going quite a bit below an hour per lap so 4 laps (48 miles) was on tap. Half way through the second lap I passed the leader and as I got more familiar with the loop I also physically was going stronger. Continued to ride steady and by the end I won with a pretty decent gap. Day one finished.
Had a great night sleep under the stars and woke ready for day two (25 mile XC). Legs felt like I had raced the night before and a little cooked from the temps. Relaxing morning chatting with the crew and then it was time to line up.
Sunday's course took in a ton more trail then the Saturday race and was WAY more technical. Temps with in the low 90's, but a light breeze kept it manageable
Jumped in the Cat 1 Masters 35-49 event with some fast folks riding the SS again. Felt pretty good for the first 30 minutes then the prior day's race set in. I knew it would and was neither frustrated or worried about it. Had an absolute blast riding a great trail and ended up either 4th or 5th (didn't check results) and over 70 miles of racing for the weekend.
Teammates Doug, Terry, Lyle, and Emily rode great and several saw the podium.
I'll be back as this place is now a staple on my race calendar.
That wraps up a great three week block of training/racing and am enjoying a relaxed lounge week of recovery/rest. Really like where I am at prepping for the 'cross season; strength, weight, bike handling are all ahead of the years past. This is going to be fun...