Mountain Fresh Racing: Ronde Ohop

The photoblog version of the Rhonde Ohop is the Mur de Mashel

mur de mashel

Mur de Mashel where 50 meters felt like a 100

Sector de Suffering

sector de suffering

no rest here

and flats.


Changed bikes to avoid this problem

For the rest of the story …

After 2 to 4 laps on rolling pavement, you hit the rocky, compact dirt and into a climb with enough rise to burn; especially after ten times. I changed bikes before the dirt section, grinded the climb out, and avoided dangers on the flats and descents. As I quickly learned on the course, there are no lines, just holes, rocks, and bottles to avoid. The race is promoted as being like a Spring or Fall classic, but without cobbles and with rocky sections, I think they should just call it a kermesse and promote it as Cross pre-season race. The promoter’s enthusiam leads to some confusion, but RO is not complicated at all. You race two laps on the road with a deceivingly hard riser. Then roar into the dirt where the race explodes into small groups with lots of racers by themselves.

riding alone

Alone ticking off the laps

Suffering Sick

Suffering when sick is different than regular suffering, cause you just got suffering. You don’t go any faster. I went into RO with a week of sick in me and decided I’d either blow the disease out or succumb to it in a collapsed, lyrca-laden heap. On the road, I moved up for the soul-sucking, false-flat riser and when the boys hit it, I blew.

“I blew” doesn’t indicate enough how explosive the moment was. Imagine Lou Dobbs ranting about illegal immigrants, with a bright-red face that builds up pressure until a whistle goes off on a teapot. It was like that with most of the pack zooming past me as I went backwards. At that point, still thinking my “out damn sickness” plan was good, I relaxed, regrouped, and waited for a chase to form. A lap later, with a few of us in a paceline and the lights of the follow car in the distance, I approached the wheel pit for a bike change. Ever alert, FSA Neutral Support handed me the Cross bike, took the Road bike, and I mounted it on the run like a Pro with a push from the mechanic.

As I said on Twitter,

Thanks to @rideFSA for the totally pro bike change in the pits before the dirt loop today. Those that saw it agreed it was awesome.

After that bike-changing awesomeness and with some “Pro” go in me, I settled into a manageable pace on the dirt loops. If I gained any time, it was on the flat/descent section cause I could bomb it with the big tires. At one point, I asked Pruitt – the promoter who raced Masters with me – why we kept seeing each other and it was because he had like 9 flats. With a lap or so to go, I finally felt somewhat good and ramped it up a bit to finish 2 laps down on the leaders. I know it was 2, cause Robert Velez made sure to tell me that. Twice.

driving it

Hard day at the office

A New Classic

The Rhonde Ohop race should grow to a classic race where the fields fill up and we’re going to work with Pruitt to make that happen. As I overheard

“that was actually really hard”

It was a hard, fast race in the shadow of Mt. Rainer.

long climb

Lonely as it is hard

Speaking of Rainer, I recovered with a tall one

Mountain Fresh

and the sickness is pretty much gone. Next race is Tuesday Worlds, then Kruger’s Kermesse where Mark will avenge himself and try not to get a concussion.

More Photos

Find more photos on Flickr and the best of on Google Plus. Also, for Suffer Face Monday, we picked this racer who rode with such anger we stayed out of his way

RO suffer face

This is more angy than suffering. He hated the climb. Wanted to get off the bike and punch it.

Also see Fleischauer who powered around the course making it look easy.

making it look easy

6 minute laps and never looked back

And took the win with a huge gap.

Ronde Ohop 11: Mens Pro 123 Winner, D Fleischauer

Nice podium pose

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