If you follow this blog at all, you may have read previously that fellow TRT-er Leah Guloien and I came up with the brilliant idea of doing the Leadville 100 MTB race this year.
At the same time that we were making these good decisions back in January, I also decided that it would be a good idea to register for Test of Metal – why not do at least two mountain bike races before Leadville right?
Well, we’ve had a pretty busy road schedule the past couple months and I definitely have not spent enough time on my mountain bike to be taking on anything called the Powerhouse Plunge. But I was registered, so I headed to the race with low expectations and hopes of surviving with my body intact ahead of next week’s National Road Champs (good decision making right?). So this blog isn’t going to be about my fantastic race – it’s going to be about how awesome the whole TRT gang is from the riders, to the masters, to the sponsors and my adventures with them out on course.
At the 2015 Test of Metal TRT was represented by three of the Elite Team – Craig Richey, Brandi Heisterman and myself, at least four Masters Russ Bougie, Stitch, Tutti, Ben Sporer (probably more that I didn’t run into!), and a few of our awesome sponsors like Ben Jackson from lululemon. We also had former manager Jamie Riggs handing up bottles in the feed zone and the legend himself, Sven-erator giving epic pushes on the hill out of the feed zone. A few TRT alumni were also spotted – honourable mention to Jamie Sparling and Austin Reith. There were also various old school TRT kits out on course – so it’s safe to say we had pretty good representation at this race.
How the Race Went Down
I saw Craig Richey from the start line until we headed down off the first paved climb – and never saw him again. I heard he was going through the feed zone faster that anyone though, which likely helped him to his stellar 3rd place overall!
Tutti and I played a game of leapfrog the whole race – but it turns out that in mountain biking going fast uphill doesn’t beat going fast downhill. He caught up to me about 10km in and we shared a train ride until he rode away from me in the first single track descent. When I spotted the Red Truck jersey up the road at the start of the Nine Mile climb I figured it was time to turn on the jets. I didn’t even realize he was riding with the 3rd place girl – I just figured I wanted to catch Tutti again… I thought I had a good gap coming off the climb but the last hour of the race was all about descending and he caught me well before the Powerhouse Plunge and put 16 minutes into me by the end.
The real mountain biker – Brandi – caught me just as I was starting my painfully slow descent down the Powerhouse Plunge and put a good 10 minutes into me in the last 15km of racing. She had been nice enough to show me that part of the course the previous weekend – so I wasn’t too surprised. Our descending styles couldn’t be more different. She expertly wove her hard tail around the rocks, while I smashed along on my full suspension until I was too terrified and had to get off.
I was a little shaken up after the Powerhouse Plunge experience and my roadie arms were feeling a little like Jello. I had ridden the final technical section – Crumpet Woods – no problem last weekend, but it wasn’t to be in the race. I managed to fall off the trail and into a ditch, much to the shock of those around me. Luckily I had managed to climb back out of the ditch and was on the side of the trail by the time Russ and Ben Jackson came by, so they didn’t witness the whole scene. They just weren’t quite sure why I wasn’t on my bike. Unfortunately, Ben crashed on some rocks just after that. We finally came out of the woods and onto the final stretch of pavement to the finish only slightly worse for the wear. I rolled in slightly behind Russ and slightly ahead of Ben.
Despite a few flats, crashes and other standard mountain biking drama all the TRT-ers passed The Test!
(for those I saw – sorry if I missed anyone!)
Craig Richey 2:35
Graham Tutti 3:06 * I think he owes Craig lunch…
Brandi Heisterman 3:12
Russ Bougie 3:21
Denise Ramsden 3:22
Richard Sandor 3:52
Ben Sporer 3:58