A new race course for me! I have never been to Coyote Hill mountain bike camp before so everything was new to me. With the holiday weekend I knew I would have Monday to recover from the travel (4 hours each way and 5 hours at the race course itself). going long distances to events makes recovery much harder for me personally then the event itself.
Coyote Hill- Tom Masterson
Coyote Hill Camp is run by Tom Masterson. They offer camps for kids and adults to teach them the skills to be proficient at riding a mountain bike in all conditions. There are trails right there that have tons of technical features. Tom is a very accomplished cyclist with 2 national cross titles under his belt, national team member and general all around nice guy. He puts on a great race too! Make time to go to the camp and get better.
I wanted to do well in the Root66 series this season. There are a few races in the series that are near me which cuts down on travel. This one was far away but next weekend Assult on Al’s is right here in RI! Lots of the races are less than two hours from here which isn’t too bad and with mid day starts for the expert races I usually get home at a reasonable time.
I have been feeling tired all week so I didn’t have the energy to pre ride the course other than the opening climb and the short section of single track. But from what I did ride I knew what to expect, roots, stream crossings, some mud, twists and turns and lots of quick changes in direction or pitch of the ground. My shifter would be getting a workout!
The start-low key
Sadly as great of a course this is, the field sizes were very small but competitive. There were multiple overlapping events this weekend with Killington Stage race etc. happening. I lined up at the back of the group as the only rider in the second row. I felt terrible all week and the warm up was pretty blah to so a hard start was not in the cards. We rolled off the line and basically everyone rode away from me…
I kind of had my plan. From looking at finish times from last year I went for the ride a steady pace plan. This is where I try and go at a pace that allows me to roll along without needing to slow down and also avoids crashing on courses I don’t know or have not pre ridden. I’ve timed it, crashing is slower…I use my heart rate and my power meter to control the pacing. For heart rate I try and keep it in the mid 150’s and stay below 165 if possible. I look at the power on smooth climbs or open sections and try and keep it in the 250-300 watt range.
When I go with this plan I spend most of the race by myself and get fairly even time splits for laps. The way the course works here it was very hard to tell how far behind another rider you are because you can’t see them due to the twisty turney type course, quick up and downs and lots of trees. So from my perspective a rider I was catching would just “appear” out of nowhere. I caught up to Brian from Fast Splits and he told me about two riders that were ahead what I didn’t realize was there were only two riders ahead of me. I kept plugging along just like I had been. I caught the next rider Matt after a while and kept going. Matt is much better than me technically but he is still working on getting back in shape. We talked after and he was just trying to find his form.
So with the plan I was going with if I am on a better day I should potentially have some energy to spend on the last lap. Luckily I was still feeling all right so I bumped up the effort. I was also more familiar with the course so my confidence in lines to pick and speeds to go at were better. I pushed a little hard in places in terms of effort and other places took better lines that made it so that my time split for the last lap was my second best of the day around 30 seconds slower than the first lap.
Towards the middle of the lap I caught up to Jeff who owns Sea Sports. When I had a chance I passed him and then charged down the trail looking for the next rider to catch all the while believing that I was in 3rd or 4th. I kept the pace high right up until the last field section where with no one insight ahead of me. I got a bit deflated since I knew I couldn’t make up any more places. I rolled across the line feeling tired but happy with my effort.
I grabbed the bottle I tossed in the feed zone(we had some young riders handing out cups of water which I was happy to take on the last lap). Then I headed up to the car to start getting ready to leave. I needed food since I was sort of bonking at the end of the race and I needed to clean up since I was so muddy from all the stream crossings. Jeff rolled up and he told me I won since I didn’t know. I did the awards and got a bottle of maple syrup!
So I use the quarq shockwiz to help improve my shock settings. Here are some of the stats from the race on the forks performance. Interestingly there were 94 “deep compression events” due to the many dips in the trail and me not timing my weight shifts. There are a few areas where I can look to improve how the fork works.
From using the shockwiz it is important to use it in the conditions and riding style you want it to work best in. Basically if you ride slow or on different terrain the shock set up is different.