Monday, May 14, 2012

The Traverse 2012

This year the Warrior's Society opted not to put on the Traverse, but another race company, Saw Sports Productions, took it on instead and they put on a great race! We headed up Blackstar at 7am Saturday morning. I rode right behind Sarah Jansen (who just recently got 9th at the 2012 Pro Whiskey 50) and another pro rider, Daniel Munoz, for the first part of the fireroad out Blackstar. Daniel pulled in front about halfway out the flat section and I was able to stay on his wheel until the real climbing started. He was in my sights the entire way up Blackstar but I knew I was riding at my limit for a 4+ hour race. Once we made the turn and started climbing up Blackstar I was in second place and stayed there until 4 corners. I reached the top of Blackstar in just under 44 minutes, and to the Motorway turnoff in 1:38, both were my second fastest segment times according to Strava. There were a few climbs up to 4 corners from the motorway turnoff that hurt...they were real steep and real loose. I made it to the aid station at 4 corners and was surprised to see Daniel (the 1st place pro rider) there but quickly realized he was there fixing a flat. The awesome Rock 'n Road support crew filled one of my bottles with water and I was off and was in first place! I rode up to Modjeska Peak, across the saddle (what we in Orange County call Saddleback Mountain) and started climbing up to Santiago Peak when Daniel caught me. We rode up to Santiago Peak together and chatted for a bit. On such a long ride like this it was nice to get to chat a bit and take my mind off the suffering. We crested the peak and Daniel quickly dropped me. The descent from the peak is quite loose and rocky and I was taking it easy trying to avoid a sidewall tear as much as possible. I made it safely down to the top of the lower Holy Jim trail and continued on towards what's referred to as the "Wall", another long, loose, and steep climb on the way over to the top of the West Horsethief trail. As I was heading up the Wall I saw Sarah Jansen gaining on me. As we crested the top of the Wall she came by and we rode together for a few minutes going back and forth. Just about the top of West Horsethief she took off and I couldn't hang with her. Finally reached the top of Trabuco Trail and began one of the best descents in Southern CA. I rode carefully down Trabuco making sure I didn't flat. Once I got to the Holy Jim parking lot I knew I was safe from flats and I just had to ride the 5-mile fire road out to the finish line. Once I hit the flat fire road another rider road up behind me that I hadn't seen the entire race...where did he come from I thought. He road my wheel for the entire 5-mile fire road. Once the finish line was in sight, perhaps 500-1,000 feet away, a car passed us on the road and at the same time he road around me. I tried to sprint to catch him but he got through the finish line one second before me. Really stoked for Daniel and Sarah to get 1st and 2nd place...they rode hard and deserve it! Definitely frustrating getting passed right at the end and finishing 4th overall - but oh well, that's racing I guess. All in all a great event. Ended up with a time of 4:35:17, which was 33 minutes faster than my 2011 time. The full results are here.

part of the climb from the top of motorway to 4 corners
the descent from Santiago Peak and the eventual climb up the "wall" 

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