This was a very well run race put on by the crew at Northstar. It was a fun course considering that it being a Leadville qualifier dictates lots of fire road. The single track sections were fun and the climbing was smooth. The weather was ridiculously nice and the views from the race course of Truckee and the entire Martis valley were absolutely stunning. The competition was tough due to this being the only qualifier on the west coast.
Marc Pro – Strava was well represented and everyone had an awesome time.
- Jesse Miller-Smith: 4hr 4min, 2nd overall, 1st in 30-39 age group (local road pro Paul Mach was first overall at 4:02)
- Conrad Snover: 4:22, 7th overall, 5th in 30-39 age group
- Andy Scott: 4:50, 23rd overall, 7th in 40-49 age group (lost 17 minutes due to a major mechanical)
- Matt Chappell: 5:01, 3rd singlespeed
- Forrest Huisman: 5:07, 23rd place in 30-39
Quotes from the fellas:
Forrest: It was great riding with Matt and Andy for awhile, seeing them ride fast and rip it up. The last few climbs toward the finishline proved to be my toughest, but provided inspiration for improving fitness through the upcoming months. Seeing the crew at Northstar was epic, with great results all around!
Jesse: Racing 10 minutes from the house is hard to beat. The race was really well organized and the course was actually pretty fun considering there was quite a bit of fire road. I was able to try out my brand new Felt 9 Team (hardtail 29er), and give it the ultimate test during a long race. From the first climb Paul Mach of Bissell and I attacked and got a good gap. From there we rolled most of the course together trading pulls until about 12 miles from the finish where I lost some punch on the climb and he dropped me. I soloed in for 2nd place, about 1’30” back. Overall it was a super fun day of racing locally with the team and my new bike was insanely fast, smooth, and climbed like a beast; thanks Felt!
Conrad: My biggest regret is not riding my bike to the race from my house since I had a perfect opportunity since I live less than 10 miles away. However, the reality of leaving the house in the dark when it was 40 degrees outside prompted me to pull the ripcord and ask Andy to pick me up on his way. During our hurried warmup, where I almost caused Jesse, Andy and myself to miss the start, I was wishing I had stuck with my original plan. Oh well, next year.
The race itself was awesome, and I felt great for the first 75% of it and worked myself into 6th place overall by the end of the first lap. My bike was making al sorts of crazy noises, so I stopped at the SRAM mechanic tent for some chain lube before I started the second lap (it turns out I shredded my freehub body). A short ways into my second go, I passed one of the riders who had been in front of me. He was on the side of the trail with a flat tire and asked for a CO2 cartridge. Since I’ve been in his place a few times before, I stopped and probably spent almost a minute getting a cartridge out of my seat bag for him. I wasn’t as strong my second time around, but I was WAY smoother. Then… I ran out of fitness at mile 40. As the wheels fell off, I got passed by two riders, and dug deep to avoid getting passed by another. Strava shows that my second lap was 5’30” slower than my first. Oh well, in fact, I was surprised I felt good for as long as I did! All told, I had an awesome time racing with my teammates, and was happy with my result.
Andy: About a quarter of the way into the second lap I was feeling good and dreaming of an age group podium and belt buckle, when I suffered the most serious mechanical bike issue I’ve ever had on a mountain bike mid-ride — let alone in a race. My drivetrain siezed and I of course stopped pedaling. Somehow my rear D cable housing had failed or been introduced into the front chainrings, w/ the result a crazy birdsnest of shifter cable wrapped up in my front d and front rings. The force on that cable when it got caught in the front rings ripped the rear d sideways bending the hanger like soft cheese so the rear d was literally laying against/parallel to the rear cassette. I tried to chill out and analyze what to do to get the bike ridable, but really thought my race (and LT 100 bid) were out the window.
After a few minutes I was able to get the cable birds nest disentangled from the front d and rings and tried to bend/pull/manipulate it out of the way so at least the front of the drivetrain could turn over w/out catching in the nest of mangled cable. Then the focus was to the rear d. Well, thank goodness I’ve seen folks do torturous things to a rear d and rear d hanger — I knew if I could get it somewhat straightened and aligned maybe I could have a single speed and at least try to finish. The reefing and cranking I put on that thing was serious, I expected the whole shebang to blow apart at any moment. But it didn’t, and low and behold I had a giganticly geared single speed, like huge track bike gearing or something. But, at least I could ride the flats/downs and grind slight ups, dismounting on almost anything uphill. I made it to the aid station 5 miles later, where a field medic I mean mechanic took over. I asked if he could maybe zip tie the birds nest out of the way so I could get a three speed w/ the front rings/d in effect, and lube/straighten/etc. on the rear. He was awesome. I was able to 3-speed ride almost the rest of the race, albeit grinding and walking some ups, and freespinning many flats/downs, with the chain constantly jumping around between a few of the cogs on the rear d. Sorry to anyone around me on the trail, I was humming the sanford and son theme somewhere between junkyard and singlespeeder!
Here’s a link to Conrad’s race file on Strava: