Last Sunday I raced in the Korea Mountain Bike Grand Prix in Pyeong Chang (host of the 2018 Winter Olympics). The course was 60km with 20 on the road and I was feeling good and hoping to perform well. The race stayed together on the road for the first ten Km before hitting the huge first climb which had several sections of over 30% grade. I did my best to stay conservative and not blow up on the climb which resulted in the leader of my age group getting a gap on my group. At the top there were 10 of us riding together and driving it over the rolling forest roads. On the first big downhill I was at the back of the group and ended up losing a little bit of time from getting caught behind people. However after a 5km section of road I caught back up with my group which contained 2 other riders from my age group. I was starting to feel good so I went to the front of the group and managed to drop everyone however on the next long down hill I dropped my chain and ended up twisting it a little bit. So for the rest of the race it was skipping and I had to ride conservatively to avoid breaking it and maintain my second place. I ended up riding with 2 riders from another age group to take second in mine.
It was bitter sweet though because it turned out that the winner of my age group only finished 50 seconds ahead of me! I hadn't seen him since the first climb but because of my chain wasn't able to chase very fast. On the other hand though I was extremely thankful not to have broken my chain (especially since I didn't have a chain tool!). This was definitely on of the best mountain bike race courses I had done in Korea this year and I was happy to be feeling good.
My bike is in the shop right now getting several things fixed (including a new chain) and should be ready for 3 weeks of racing starting this Sunday with a big race in Dong Ducheon (north of Seoul). The race organizer is bringing Gunn Rita Dahle and Jose Hermida in to participate so that should be pretty cool.