Monday, June 4, 2012

Bak Dal Jae 100km Mountain Bike Race 박달재 100키로 산악자잔거대회

On Sunday I did my first 100km mountain bike race and it went much better than I expected.  The race started with a 3km or so long fire road climb.  I was riding well and was with the leaders over the top.  The down hill was really rocky and bumpy, which caused me to lose my water bottle. I went back to get it but it had been run over! After the down hill we had about a 10km long road section.  Our lead group had about 10 riders in it at this point 6 of which were in my age group.  We hit the next climb and near the top I stopped to get some water when I restarted I was still with the group but the guy in front of me had to get off on the single track and we lost contact right before the descent.

At this point we had raced about 35 km and the lead group had 5 guys four of which were from my age group.  Myself and another rider were about 1 minute back and chasing but losing time.  After another 10km road section the longest climb of the day started.  I immediately dropped my companion and set out chasing on my own.  I honestly didn't think I would catch anyone but near the top I caught 2 of the riders from my age group and dropped them.

AFter the climb we rode on top of a ridge line for another 10km before a 10km long fire road descent.  On the downhill my friend Stephen who I came to the race with caught me.  We rode together until the next climb, which proved to be the most brutal of the race.  It was over 5km long of 20% percent on a cement one lane road.  I couldn't hold Stephen's pace (but he was in a different age category so I didn't lose any placings to him).  After the climb and descent there was another long road section this one over 10km long and ending with a long climb.

I was super dehydrated was cramping a lot on the climbs.  I really needed something with some sodium in it but unfortunately all of the rest stops only had water and candy bars! I really needed that Gatorade I had lost on the first downhill.  On a small climb my friend Matthew was there and he gave me a huge bottle of water which I drank completely (it was a 1.5liter bottle).  I felt a bit better then and was able to keep going but not at nearly as good a pace as I kept in the first half of the race.

At the top of the paved climb I thought I was almost done but I actually had to turn onto some single track and keep climbing!  The course then had about 5-6km of nice single track to the finish.

I had banged my rim on a few rocks during the race but on one rocky section of downhill I punctured! Luckily I was only about 2-3km from the finish.  I tried to ride it but the tire soon came off.  I had a spare tube and pump but I figured it would probably be faster just to run it in.

I ended up finishing 5th overall and 3rd in my age group.  I was really pleased with the result considering that I'm usually very fast after about 2 hours of racing.  Although I think with out the flat I may have been able to catch the guy who got second in my age group.  He finished about 3 minutes in front of me but I lost a lot of time running.  I was really lucky to not have flatted earlier in the race though!

This week I'm going to focus on recovering for another big day of racing on Sunday.  There is a race in Chuncheon with both mountain and road racing.  I'm going to do a 40km mountain bike race in the morning and then a 45km road circuit race in the afternoon.

I have to give a big thanks to my friend Matt Witherspoon for helping me out with the race.  He lives in Jecheon where the race was held and let me and Stephen stay at his house with his wife and 2 year old daughter.  We had a really great time with him and his family.  Also during the race he drove around on a scooter to take pictures and give us water at several points on the course.  Below are some of the pics and a video he took.

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