Saturday, September 24, 2005

VA Derailer #4 - Falling Creek Park

Sometimes, things can fool you. The New York Yankees for instance, stumbling through most of the season until September, and then trouncing everyone in their way. Like your $39.95 per month cell phone plan-the one costs you $73.22 for some reason when the bill comes in the mail. Like the Falling Creek MTB Race in Bedford, VA, race number four in the Virginia Derailer Series.

At each of the previous Derailer Series races, I had asked fellow racers who did the entire series the previous season what the Bedford course was like. I heard it all: It’s nothing but fields, it’s the easiest in the series, it’s the hardest in the series, there are lots of places to spin out and recover, there are no places to recover, etc…

So, last weekend a few racers from Roanoke and I visited Falling Creek Park to discover a course unlike any other. It looks easy. Imagine a cyclocross course with some newly cut single track thrown in for good measure. After our pre-ride it was plain to see that this race would be tough. Deceptively tough. This course is one of those that if you showed up race day without riding it ahead of time, you’d feel like you should be flying by the looks of the wide open trails. However, once you started tackling the many ups and downs through the power-sapping grass, you’d be cursing your legs for failing you.

I prepared race day like I always do: Big bowl of Cheerios, small cup of Sheetz coffee, some hammer gel, a blast of Static-X and Mudvayne, and a 45 minute warm-up. I felt good. I felt strong. Now it would be a question of if I could be stronger than this course. I wasn’t going to let Falling Creek Park beat me.

The Pro/Expert guys took off two minutes ahead of us Sports for a quick ¼ mile prologue through a wide-open, grassy loop. We all watched them circle around behind us to dump into the first singletrack section of the course. We were next. I got a good jump on the field, but a few guys with gears (I was – as usual – on my trusty Gary Fisher Rig singlespeed) got ahead of me onto the trail. “Be patient”, I thought to myself. None of the riders that got ahead of me were pulling away, and I felt like I wasn’t working hard at all. I was sitting third in my class – behind Quinn Hershberger and Philip Love – until I was able to sneak by them both early on in lap one. Both of my rivals looked strong. I knew I’d have to jump on the gas if I was to stay away for three laps, but I couldn’t blow-up by challenging this tough course.

As the race progressed, I felt more relaxed and started pulling in the rest of the younger Sport guys. Each time we dumped into an open field it was easy to take inventory of who was out in front and behind. I kept inching closer to Caleb Smith and David Anderson, the two leaders in Sport 18-35. I would catch them, and then they’d pull away. This ritual repeated several times. They both stayed strong for the remainder of the race and finished in 1st and 2nd respectively. I rolled into the finish area after three hard laps to finished 3rd overall in Sport, and 1st in Sport 36-49. Best of all, I felt like I could have maintained the pace I was on for another lap.

My lovely bride again won the Sport Women 36-49 class by being the only chick brave enough to race in her age group. She did beat up on some of the Sport guys though. Way to go Pookie!

Youngster Ryan Owens (Expert 14-17) took the overall Expert win, followed closely by Roanoke Cycling Organization mastermind Ron Glowczynski (Expert 36-49). The Expert 18-35 win went to Chad Davis.

The folks at Bedford County Rec & Parks and the City of Bedford did an outstanding job. Hats off to all of the volunteers and staff that gave up there Saturday so we could come out to race. It is much appreciated!


ashwinearl said...

Good job Warren!

Each race you've been inching closer to the win. Just needed the right course to work with that single of yours.

Not that you don't beat up on most gear riders on any course, but some courses suit single speeds more than others.

Let's see how the single does on Brush. Pretty well I'd imagine

Warren Schimizzi said...


Thanks man! I wish that I could do the Rowdy Dawg on the 2nd, but I'll be tackling Poor Mountain with my one gear. I have a feeling that it will hurt - bad.

Maybe next season the two races won't be on the same day. You should rock out in that one. Best of luck!