Posted by Editoress on 03/23/05
The Shep Report
Haro adidas Pro, Chris Sheppard
Ahh a trip to the desert for a bike race. Nothing satisfies me on the bike more than riding in the sun on sweet flowing single track in search of the elusive jack-a-lope! Team Haro was once again in action at the second round of the NORBA National series. Relentless wind battered riders on the stage one time trial that wound eight miles up and out of washes, over rock gardens and through cacti-lined fields. Point blank I rode as best I could and thought it was enough for a podium spot until the final five or so riders came through! Missed it by 3 sec with second place Craig 18 sec ahead of me but 30 sec behind Kabush! Trailing were Killeen, Lowe, JHK and Bishop. Flatting was a big issue if you weren't running Maxxis tiresÃ¢Ë†â€˜.
Day two was Short track Saturday. The course featured a downhill start, a bit of single track and the ever-present marble coated surface. Garbage start by yours truly thus forcing me to chase and pass for ten minutes until I made contact with the front group. Kabush and Craig drove the pace until Craig went down. This was a popular activity today - crashing. Wanting to fit in I thought I would give it a nudge and timed it perfect while in fourth spot with three laps left! Chased and chased while Kabush made everyone look like a bunch of sissies with two to go. Gone! The coyote scraps were fought for by Lowe, Killeen, Wells, and JHK finishing in that order. Taberlay was sixth while I cruised in for seventh. Behind me a stack of Canucks battled in this order Toulous, Lega, Hestler and Wedge. Craig flatted with two to go and rode it out for 14th.
After a night of having my cuts stick to the sheets I was ready for a sunny day at the office. With second to eighth separated by just 40 secs and two podium spots 17 sec ahead of me the race wasn't even close to being finished. Riders ten abreast spun, crashed, bounced and forced their way into the single track just 100 ft from the line. I managed to keep it upright while others' emulated my cornering skills from the previous day. Not good for them. My jump at the start sucked and I was given a few submission passes that saw me in the 15-20 range after the first lap. The course was unbelievable again with slick sand and loose rocks rolling the riders over a 100% single track trail. Fun times but tough passing. Kabush, Wells, JHK and Craig drove the front group while the non-north American contingent of Lowe, Taberlay and Killeen chased hard to bridge up. A flu ridden Lowe would eventually fall off the pace but show his Aussie hardness by riding it out. I passed 5 or 6 on my one lap chase of the front group which I eventually bridged thanks to Craig's slowing of the group.
Leading into the final lap Kabush accelerated off the front and pursued a solo victory. As the pace quickened my sugar-starved muscles cried, Ã¢â‚¬Å¾No moreÃ¢â‚¬Â°! Little black spots floated through my vision thus marking my impending death. Bonking can be so tragic sometimes especially when you miss two feeds. Slowly the front guys pinned it leaving me in chase mode. Ten feet behind became 15 then 30 etc. Such a tragic moment that had me reduced to making a deal with God! Apparently he doesn't accept prayers or even pleas on Sunday - mental note taken. The chasing five got aggressive for the final four spots on the podium. Killeen was to emerge on the final climb in the lead spot while the elbows got wider coming into the finish. Craig managed to cut past Sid for the final spot with JHK and Wells in third and fourth respectively.
I kept on the gas due to the chase led by Toulouse, Lowe, Lega and Sager at about a minute. By the end I lost too much time to Adam leaving me in 7th. Shamoe rode through a nagging mechanical and missed feeds to cap the weekend off in 12 overall. Roddi was 11th and Matt T in 10th .
Ride of the day: Ryan Trebron was called to the line in 97th and ended up 11th but with no overall.
Special Thanks: Jose and Clarke at Manitou for letting Seamus and I run next years R Seven fork with lock out. Good stuff.
I am definitely getting faster so my hopes are high at the Sea Otter classic in three weeks.
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