Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Great Hawk Chase Report.

Here's my report from the Great Hawk Chase.  This should be on SkinnySki.com too.

It wasn’t till Thursday night that I decided to head North and do the Great Hawk Chase race in Duluth.  Once work was finished Saturday the family and I packed the van and were on our way.

 Having received some rain Friday night the course was shortened a bit to eliminate the more muddy sections.  My race, the Marathon class, started at 9:30, providing a bit more time for the course to dry out.  The race started us up a nice up hill.  I like hills at the start as it thins the crowd a bit.  I was riding single speed so I really only have one speed going up.  This allowed me to pass several riders.  Once single track was hit I realized my skills at race pace need some improvement.  But alas I never crashed or clipped a tree so I’m getting better!
We finished our first lap in about 30 minutes.  At this point I was in a group of three.  I passed them on the climbs and they caught up to me in the single track.  At one point I rode away from them and caught the next group of two.  It was then we started to hit race traffic.  I lost the two riders I was with and was eventually joined by my first group.  This group then became two and we would leap frog off and on the rest of the race.  I looked forward to the start/finish loop for the energy of the crowd.  It always pumps me up.  Just wish I could make it last longer!

On lap 6, Matt Ryan, my riding partner on and off again all day, caught me near the end.  He came up on me so fast I thought it was someone out pre riding the course.  Nope, he was just that fast.  I let him pass.  I stayed with him as best I could.  We started the climb on lap 7 together but I never passed him as I did in previous laps.  I knew he was riding much stronger than I, he ended up 2nd!  My goal was just not to let anyone else pass me.  It started to rain a bit half way through my last lap.  This made the trails super slick for me.  On the climbs I have to stand as I’m on a single speed and my rear tire would constantly slip out.  I was able to stay upright the entire lap, which is a small victory in itself! 
I ended up 4th.  I was super happy with that.  Of course I had the “ I should’ve” or “I could’ve”
thoughts but being my first series race in 7 years I’ll take it. 

I’m ready for more dirt.  Super fun day on a great course.  Duluth has something special going on up there.  Hope to be back for more.

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