Sunday, August 1, 2010

Indie Series Final: Padden Mountain Pedal

The 18th Annual Padden Mountain Pedal marked the end of the 2010 Indie Series, which was only four races this year. Theresa, Erin, John and Kyle made the trip to Bellingham for the last race, where Theresa, Kyle, and Erin were in the running for an overall series podium (although mine was little more than a participation award for showing up at all the races.) Morning clouds quickly dissipated and by the time the beginners started their race, the mid-July sun was in full effect.

The course remained unchanged from previous years (I'm hoping for it to move to Galbraith at some point) which mean multiple laps on a short, technically challenging course. I prefer long laps or no repeated trail at all, so this course was not one of my personal favorites. I didn't pre-ride, so I relied on my recollection of the race last year to guide me. I remembered that the climbing wasn't significant but the technical challenge was, so I hammered the first climb right out of the gate and tried to stay on the wheel of the woman in front of me. By the time I reached the intersection where the beginner course branched off the from the sport/expert course, just shy of a mile into the race, I was wheezing and drenched in sweat. As the woman in my sight slowly pulled away, I realized my mistake; last year I did the beginner course, so I remembered less climbing and spent all my energy too quickly. Trying to keep my frustration at bay, I reached the top with another woman on my back wheel and started down the switchback-laden downhill. This was no time to relax, however; this downhill kept racers on their game. Fast sections abruptly ended in sharp turns, huge roots or quick hills that caught riders in the wrong gear.

Below the intersection where the lower trail reconnected with the upper loop, the trail became more technical with steep dusty chutes, a root drop and sketchy line choices. Thankfully, I lost the woman on my wheel in this section, and as the trail flattened out and began climbing again, I saw that I had gained some ground and caught up to the woman ahead of me. The last section included two technical climbs that required me to get off my bike and run up, and another fun downhill section that swooped down into the lap transition. I was budgeted my energy better for the climb on my second lap, but this time the woman behind me caught me right below the top, though I passed right by her on the downhill section again. By this time, the open/expert racers had started. It was cool to see them ride the steep technical climb section that I had to run up. Unfortunately, my nemesis caught me again early during the climb on the final lap and I couldn't reel her in on the downhill, though I came close to catching her in the finish chute. Thankfully for me, she wasn't even in my age category! This race wasn't timed, but even though I finished 3rd in my category (out of 3) I finished within a minute or two of the other female contenders.

There were a couple hours of down time between the race finish and the awards ceremony/raffle, so we enjoyed delicious food from a taco truck that was at the race and promoted our upcoming event, the Capitol Forest Classic (August 14-15!!!) People showed a lot of interest, which was exciting. Theresa also did some networking with a local screen printing company Liet Industries, which did T-shirts for the Indie Series, and ended up getting them to print up some FOCF shirts for our event!! Next up is the best mountain bike race event of the summer, the Capitol Forest Classic!

Beginner Women
Theresa Nation, 4th; 2nd Series Overall

Sport Women 19-39
Erin Roe, 3rd; 3rd Series Overall

Sport Men 45+
John Curtin, 16th; 12th Series Overall

Expert U-18
Kyle Curtin, 1st; 1st Series Overall

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