Bear Mt. Spring Classic Experience

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by jsirabella, May 11, 2008.

  1. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    While not in the race I found the experience of riding in the official’s car interesting enough that I make it a post. I had to do two points worth of marshal to be able to race so I chose the Bear Mt Spring Classic not looking to closely at the date than realizing two weeks ago when I got an email that it is on Mother’s Day. Why would you put it on Mother’s Day? I hear the other name for the race is the bastard race. After getting grilled by my wife and paying her off I showed up to marshal but I was chosen to drive the official’s car for the Junior Class. I never did that and thought it sounded interesting not knowing what to expect.



    Anyway the race starts at 9:30am followed 5 minutes later by the 40+ group, I mention this as it will become important later. The group was really interesting looking at some of the riders being tiny and others looking quite big for 18 year old kids. I do not ride much up at Bear Mt. so did not know what the course would be like. After the first loop I could see that this was no joke crit CP or PP course that I usually do. This was a course where I could see how the power training of 20 minute and higher intervals could make the difference as the inclines were 20 minutes or longer easy. In fact the course felt all up hill to me with one long descent right before the last climb to the finish line.



    The Junior field had 38 riders and on the first loop 3 were dropped fairly quickly. I was impressed by one of the kids dropped early as he came back to join the group and finish two loops with the group. Probably the most depressing thing for me was when the official would tell me to pass a rider. I would wait and wait hoping they could catch the group but after a while the official would say pass him. You felt bad because you could see in their face as you pass them and they lowered their head the look that its over. One kid though who we passed really impressed me and I guess I was not suppose to but I became a fan of 198. A small kid, but he was dropped by the group three times to come back each and every time to catch the group and finish the race. Including one point riding on the grass to pass a few riders! Real guts and grit IMHO.



    Being in the car I had some strange questions but the best was early in the race a rider pulled back and asked if he could take a pee while riding. After some discussion with the official he said ok and he did not have to pull over and stop the bike. Another rider pulled next to him and help push him while he was letting loose. A strange picture indeed…After that experience, during the third loop the 40+ group wanted to overtake our group. Our walkie talkies were garbage as we could hear but could not talk. The pace car of the 40+ says neutralize the Junior Group. I had to from behind pull ahead and with the pace car move the riders to the side. Once the Junior Group heard they were about to be over passed, decided to start hauling ass. They did not want to be overtaken. It took us 10 minutes to get them neutralized and let the 40+ pass but I could tell that was not going to last. Now within the Junior Group a group of 4 riders was about 5 minutes ahead of the rest. Once neutralized they all bunched up again! The lead rider came back to us and was furious…you have to reestablish the gap he is yelling. After some discussion the official said ok. As soon as we let the lead riders take off, the rest of group starts yelling, that was it, that was it, so we start yelling go, go, go! 15 minutes later they are all one pack again. Honestly it was a strange pace as no group within the group ever really pulled away to far and they were always bunched up with several riders always hugging the double yellow which forced me to beep quite a bit throughout the race. This forced several riders to have to ride in the grass to pass other riders. Finally some of the group were getting pissed off at the line huggers and gave them a nice bump to move off but they just went back to hugging the line. There were stretches where I really felt they could take off but it seems at certain sections they just all decided “ok lets rest now”. No one wanted to really take advantage at those points. Now back to the 40+ group. Well after the first passing, the Junior Class passed them and than they passed the Junior Class and back again and finally a group of 4 riders wanted to pass the Junior Group. Each time either group having to be neutralized which allowed some riders to catch up, it made everyone crazy! And honestly I would not have let the last group of 4, 40+ pass and neutralize the entire Junior group for them but they did anyway. It was chaos…



    Funny on the descents they were really not going that fast considering the grade of the descent but on that last loop before the line they suddenly decided to fly down it at like 50+ miles per hour. Luckily no one hurt in my group. I really enjoyed the race and now I know these are the type of races I want to do as they seemed better geared for the training and goals I would like to attain, the mental and physical toughness. This type of race was what I always imagined races would be like, not the crits. I will definitely be doing a road race and make that my goal.



    Just my insights and observations and glad I was there!



    -js
     
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  2. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    Pro/1/2: The climb was way less than 20 minutes. You need to dig deep in zones 5-6 repeatedly as it had so many little ramps and turns. Tough course, never flat. Hardest climb was at the back at the turnaround.
     
  3. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Probably for the pro 1/2, :D

    But for the kids and the 40+, they would seem to hit the climbs fairly well but would loose steam in many sections. I did believe they could have finished the race quickler and the Juniors went off at 9:30 but I was not done till closer to 12:30 as each loop took about 1 hour. I believe the Juniors had three loops? Honestly I could not tell.

    Yeah the little ramps and turns were continous throughout the course. Everytime I thought it was going to level out it seemed to go up again. There did not seem like too many flat strecthes. Hard to tell from a car sometimes...

    -js

     
  4. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    Did they change the course from about 5-7 years ago?

    I don't consider it to be a hilly course. Just one stair step climb after the big descent, but we powered over that in the high teens and 20s in the cat 3 race I remember. The rest is just easy rolling terrian IMO.

    I use to get flat tires there a lot, got dropped one time, never finished that race with the pack. In the past the finish was at the bottom of a small downhill, right before the park, they'd be hitting 50 at the finish. Maybe they changed it now?
     
  5. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Well I will let you know as the race inspired me to next week do it for myself.

    Those kids were flying down at bout 50 miles per hour before the finish. Not sure if normal but only a 1/3 of the Junior field finished the race with the pack so I would not consider that easy IMHO. But I do not have the experience so that may be normal.

    -js

     
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