Today’s QuickNDirty, Filthy 50 Mountain Bike race was another great event put on by Victor Sheldon. This year was once again sold out, and UC Cyclery was represented well with racers in almost all categories.
The 55+ class was represented by Ken Winston, Randy Liechty, Jack Kairy, and myself. We started with a very fast pace. Before we arrived at Raptor Ridge we had already caught the group ahead of us (a VERY large Sport class) which made navigating and passing this group very difficult. As we approached Lake Hodges, Ken was trapped in the Sport group traffic which left Randy, Jack, and myself with Johnny O’Mara leading the class. We managed to stay together as we navigated the steep terrain, and as we hit the “wall” (a steep section of asphalt) I test the group by pushing a little harder and noticed Johnny struggled with this pace, which helped me strategize my attack for later in the race. UCC continued to work together to keep the pace up. We caught a teammate of Johnny's (from the Expert Open class) who then pulled us at a fast pace from Hodges to Raptor Ridge. As we approached the base of Raptor Ridge, Johnny’s teammate dropped off, that’s when I made my move and was fortunate enough to gap him and sustain my lead to the finish. I was fortunate to catch some of our Sport teammates and they helped pull me in to the finish (thanks guys)! Randy, Ken, and Jack finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th, which gave us 4 out of 5 podium positions. Impressive ride gentleman. Way to go UCC!
Filthy 50 Race Report by Paul.
This year was my 3rd attempt at the Filthy 50. Both Justin and I were entered in the sport class. I started on the front line and took off at a good pace. I had some shift trouble out of the first 90 degree left corner. Not sure what happened, but it resolved itself and I led until the pavement section. There I backed off the gas a little to let some others do work.
I put in a little surge up Raptor Ridge to try and get a clean shot down Raptor, but ended up in a conga line not able to pass until the flats. At that point some strong riders came forward and we had a good pack of at least 8 through to the dam. Lusardi was pretty uneventful except a road biker on Artesian passed us and one guy took off in his draft. The rest of the pack made a push to close the gap and then we let the lead guy go for a little while. It was too early to make a move. He ended up getting caught on the concrete wall and then we never saw him again.
Justin had passed me and was feeling strong so he led the way through the switchbacks. Once we hit the dam I let Justin go as I was starting to cramp and needed a rest. I led a couple other riders who weren't going to do any work, so I just spun at a comfortable pace. I figured at this point we would get caught, so I was hoping for more riders to help work through the mule trail. I ended up using more water than I planned going through my bottle and hydration pack. Normally I just try to carry it all and not stop or rely on aid. Cindy Fenton was at every trail crossing cheering us on and offered me a bottle on the way back. That ended up being a life saver as I needed every last drop.
I ended up getting beyond lucky when Ben in the single speed category came along like a freight train. I knew that was the race going by me right there; so I jumped on his wheel and held on for all I had. Nobody else went with me and we caught Justin in short order. I called out to Justin to catch on and he was able to stick with us. We caught another pack of riders and this larger group was towed all the way up to Raptor. This was the first year I didn't totally explode going up Raptor and put a tiny gap on Justin up the climb. As expected he blew past me on the descent half way down. I had to bury myself to catch him on the flats. Greg Fenton in the 55+ expert class caught us and the three of us worked together to the finish line.
On the last 90 degree right hander I went to sprint early. I figured if Justin had anything left he would get me; otherwise it was my best chance. We crossed the line in 1st and 2nd. After the race I was viciously attacked by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.