OMBC7 Race to the Hills / Lake Hope Report

So we started this race, ya see…   


and then none of us actually finished.  The results are in!  Entire Expert Womens field DNF!!  Yeah, we just didnt feel like it once we were out there.  It could happen.  Ok, ok.  There is a little more to it.  I’ll explain from my MJ view.   Ahh, I remember it well..  It all started out with the womens field getting a distance option while at the start line.  The 30 mile loop equivalent to the Expert men, or a 23 mile shorter course where we cut off a section in lap 2.  Votes for 23?  My hand = UP! UP!  UUP!!  Look at me!! 23!  Come on!  4/7 vote for 30.  GAWD!  Fine.  If I bonk I bonk.  So be it (Yeah, I could not be any further from my endurance training and body from last season.. its bad.).

We head up and across a section of road and I’m keeping up with the posse.  I manage to duck into the single track in the middle of the pack.  Very happy with my start.  A rare occasion, so I must acknowledge it.  I am quickly reminded how sweet these trails are (totally worth the car sickness on the way down.. vurrrp.. ehh.. I’m ok.)   Fast forward.. Heidi and Lauren are up ahead.  I’m in route with Amanda with Ellen and Erika are not far behind.  Meredith is trailing but her endurance style has her a little slower in the starts.  That was all me last year.  I couldnt tell you where it happened but all of a sudden the men’s field is coming right at us.  Yup.  We’re on singletrack and in a head on collision course with a pack of dudes.  Luckily it was a decent section and we rolled right off the trail and let them all pass by without incident.  Whaaat thheee HECK!?  Before we even have time to really digest what went down a second big ass group of dudes come through and we spot Heidi and Lauren in the mix.  Everything is happening so fast we could not get any answers from any of them.  Heidi was gobbled up in the madness and we never saw her again.  Lauren stops with us and we attempt to figure out what just went down. 

I’m not going to use quotes, but it basically went like this.. Did you guys all come from that way or turn around?  Turned around.  Why?  I dont know.  Well who messed up?  Not sure!  Do we just turn around now?  What if they are wrong?  Where could we have messed up?  I dunno.  I dunno either.  Poo!  We decided to keep going the direction we were riding and figure out what went down, so we continue ahead.. yet backwards.  A few more solo riders stagger pass us until we reach the road and spot a map kiosk.  As we evaluate the situation Meredith comes up the trail in the correct direction of the race course.  Hey! How’d you do that!?  She confirmed living close by and frequenting the trails probably played a role.  We all agree to head out / back the way we came with Meredith taking the lead and we’ll re-evaluate when we reach the now suspect intersection.  

We pour out into a previous road crossing and figure out what happened.   There were two road crossings around 5-10 feet from each other.  We should have crossed the road straight across, looped around like a horse shoe, then popped out on the road again and re-cross on the other side.  The trail was marked on both sides of the road and a large sign was there with “Expert / Sport” with straight arrows and beginners hung a left.   Ryan / OMBC marked the intersection more than enough.  (I did later suggest he put a red “x” on the trails not to be taken when they are that close to each other).  The problem came with majority of the riders not knowing the trails, the trails being crazy fast (and RAD!) and when we hit that road doing 10-15 miles an hour the very tip of the trail did angle to the right just enough that it aimed us directly into the far right trail and starting a figure 8 instead of horse shoe.  Oops!  Some riders did make the correct crossing (I think all locals who know the trail system) and the other majority of the riders missed the correct signage and did what we did.  Now what!?  We have a few options… 

1.  Head back into the trail the correct way, but now add 5+ miles onto our already 30 mile loop.  Thanks 30 mile voters!  Who’s knockin’ 23 miles now!?  Exactly. 

2. Just head back from where we were and maintain the regularly scheduled race course.. unsure if that is what everyone else did after they barrelled past us in the confusion.  DNF/DQ  on the horizon. 

3.  Meredith was the only female rider to do the course properly so she could head back, do the 2nd lap and claim the victory, points (she didnt care) and cash prize (yum!).  We can join her for the mileage and enjoy more ride time together.  We decided to leave it up to her.

Meredith took the lead and we all had a SERIOUSLY SUPERB time riding with each other.  Such a very rare occasion and we all enjoyed it immensely!  We all wished Heidi was with us too.   We eventually reach the decision point where we either continue right to proceed with lap 2, or cut left to head up and out of the trails back to the start / finish.  We took so long with our decision making Meredith did not think she had enough babysitting time allocated to keep going for lap 2 and decided to end it, so we all headed up and out together.  We all had really mixed emotions about it all.   Lots of time, money and effort go into racing.  To have such an anti-climatic finish definitely leaves us hanging.  We talked it out with Ryan (OMBC) and he offered to comp our race entries for next time.  I definitely appreciate that and hope to make it to another race and take him up on that offer!  Heidi, Ellen (and possibly Erika, not sure) all did go around for lap 2, but because the did not do the proper course they accepted the DNF status as well.  I guess all the expert dudes worked it out and decided to finish it up as is.   All the girls tended to agree that if they did not go back and repeat the proper course, it was no longer the same race course for everyone, and an official “win” didnt really work anymore, but hey they boys can do what they want.  Whatever.

Maybe if I was faster this year, actually in the points series, actually ever cared about a points series, I might have raced differently.   Probably not.  After we were done I wish I would have just completed the course to get the mileage in and enjoy the trails longer.  Bad decision on my part…especially since I eat like I’m riding 30 miles every day.  I better work on that.  My budda belly is getting out of hand.  A few lessons learned on Sunday..  

1.  That you should never rock out scenic byways when your trying to get to a race.

2.  That in times of stress and racing dabackles my friends rule and we still made the most of the ride.  So fun!

3.  That Lake Hope provides some seriously fun trails!!   Go.. ride.. love.  

4.  That even though there was little climbing overall going nonstop full throttle is just as exhausting.  I was really tuckered even with the shorter mileage.. yikes.

6.  That rolaids rule and if they had a face I’d kiss it.  Getting older aint for the weak or weary.   

7.  That even though I do not want to give Ryan a hard time for trying his best I still think if he wants to have a race series comparable to WVMBA, MASS, etc that you need more people.  That intersection was an ideal candidate for a course marshall.  Volunteers, race course trail groups, a board of directors.  I dunno.  Just sayin.

8.  That I freaking love the old school Nelly song “Pimp Juice“. 

All in all it was a decent day.  I had a sweet time with friends and the trails were awesome.  That’s all I’m really aiming for.  Happy trails.. 🙂


One response to this post.

  1. Bummer you guys got mixed up. The trails at Lake Hope rock. That was one of my favorite races last.


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