Midwest MTB Racing Recapby Jay Richards
October 23, 2012
This week's report includes an exclusive recap from Wausau born and raised, and now attending Ripon College, Casey Hildenbrandt, who was competing in USA Cycling Collegiate nationals which was held at Angel Fire alpine area in New Mexico. Also in this week's report is a few words on soup(!) and a look ahead to the Minnesota Cycling league state championships for mountain biking.
College MTB Nationals
Once again the alpine area of Angel Fire, New Mexico was host to the collegiate mountain bike nationals, both for the cross country and gravity events. Ripon College student Casey Hildenbrandt had a solid showing including a top 10 finish in the short track in D2 and provides a full report:
The team arrived in Angel Fire, NM late Sunday night, about a week before we had to race. After being out at the race course five days before racing I had a pretty good idea of the course and knew what the descent was even though the course was not marked until the day before the race. Thanks to tips from Jay Richards I kept it cool and low key, at least I thought I had. The first day I was riding with Paul Mumford from Chicago and fellow collegiate rider Cody Phillips from Lees McRae, but rode a little to much and hard ending up with altitude sickness. I took the next day off to get rid of that. By Friday for the XC race I was set to go and let it rip. I knew who I needed to watch and what to do. Cypress Gorry was the man to watch and follow.
I started 4th row and got caught up on the start hill after the first corner and had got taken down half way up the start climb. I settled into a rhythm after that and got going pretty decent for the long race. I was riding in the top 15 the first three laps and going into the fourth but slipped down a little on the last lap. Four laps of 1,000 feet of climbing per lap adds up, especially when it starts at 8,600 feet. I got stuck behind slower riders on the descent every lap but the last and passed at least 3 riders each lap on the descent hammering where I could to get by but still costed me a minute or two. That's racing though and everyone else had to deal with that as well. While the first 3/4 of the 2.5 mile climb was doubletrack, the last 1/4 was singletrack climbing with lots of switchbacks and rocks all over the trail. I managed to pull back riders every lap here due to it being somewhat technical even though I did not have any gas on the jeep road climb. One of the best things about the race was coming up the start hill after it flattened out and where the feed zone was. It was like the TDF, people on both sides packed together yelling and screaming, hovering over the jeep road and going crazy! Unfortunately I was unable to stay with Cypress, who ended up taking the win. Ended up 17th which I was okay with considering my legs didn't show up like I hoped with the elevation.
Saturday for STXC I had way higher hopes of getting on the podium with thoughts all year of getting on the top step and the stars and bars jersey. Knowing before XC that Cypress was the guy to watch and after taking the win on Friday, I needed to stay with him for a shot to win. The race was 20 minutes + 3 laps. Laps were running about 2:30 - 2:40 a lap. I started 2nd row and made it up the start climb riding with Karl from the Air Force Academy who I was riding with going into the last lap and finished 13th in the XC race. I was sitting 6th and riding in a good spot. After the first lap I could tell I went out way too hard and tried to settle down, but lost a lot of spots doing that. For the next 10 minutes I sat up and soft pedaled trying to maintain as many spots as possible. I fell back to 14th, but started to feel good as I got a rhythm. I started to pick off riders one by one eventually into 7th going into the last lap. I caught up with 6th, who took 2nd in the XC race, but couldn't manage to get around him before the singletrack descent. I stayed on his wheel like glue but after the singletrack it was 10 seconds to the finish as we went out onto loose gravel and and nasty turn into the finish straight. He got me my a bike length or two but I was happy with 7th at my first collegiate nationals and being at altitude.
Thanks to everyone on Facebook and Twitter for all the support, everyone out there cheering me on, the hand ups, and to all the other teams and coaches for making it all happen as the Midwest repped it hard out there. (Photo: John Senkerik)
USA Cycling Coverage
Food for Thought
Food and diet are topics not discussed much recently in the mountain bike report. Cooking is not only a big part of one of my important tasks at Maplelag but also a "hobby" if you will, as Jonell and I enjoy cooking and preparing new recipes whenever we can. The transition of seasons, especially to the cooler ones, signals the time to indulge in soup! There is nothing like soup on a cold and damp day and probably the #1 food source for athletes or anyone for that matter to get the nutrients they need to stay fueled properly. You can cover a lot of the basic dietary requirements with soups and the varieties and choices are endless. With fall making a closer transition to winter, hearty soups and bisque with vegetables of season are wholesome, heartening and quite tasty! A favorite recently to graze the table is a pumpkin and chile soup. A recipe can be found on Active.com along with a few other nice fall soups. A couple ingredients that stick out in the pumpkin chile soup are yogurt and maple syrup. We are fortunate to live in a state that produces pure maple syrup and even though the price is a bit higher, it is definitely worth it not only for flavor but health benefits. Pure maple syrup is a great stand-alone energy source and I think if the pricing was right, you would see a gel based quick energy option. When I was racing on a more regular basis, an extra dose of pure maple syrup seemed to go a long way getting through a two hour mountain bike or ski race. I know TJ Woodruff is another athlete that has used pure maple syrup as part of his fueling needs.
The success of the first year of high school mountain biking in Minnesota is celebrated at an appropriate place, Buck Hill, for the final race in the season, this weekend. Buck Hill has not only been one of the longest running venues in the state for mountain biking but has probably had more mountain bikers keep the wheels moving in circles than any other venue in the country! Anyway, State championships are on the line for boys and girls varsity and junior varsity divisions. If you haven't been to a high school event, head out to support and maybe volunteer! Also word passing along of the MN League Awards Party, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 10th from 3:30pm to 5:30pm at Quality Bicycle Products (QBP). Organizers will be recapping the very successful inaugural season, recognizing senior racers and giving out Individual and Team Awards for the 2012 Season.
Keep the wheels moving!
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About the author...
Jay Richards maintains a very active lifestyle. He somehow finds time between managing a full-time resort (Maplelag) and bringing up a family of four boys with his wife Jonell, to compete in both mountain bike and a few cross-country ski races. Jay rides for Maplelag Resort, manages the Maplelag/Paramount mountain bike team and enters his 22nd year of racing and promoting mountain bike races.