Stottlemeyer 30 Race Report

I was a bit anxious about racing the Stottlemeyer 30 this time around. Last year I managed to win the SS cat it but I knew that was partially due to the smaller field of competitors. This year the field doubled in size and I knew going in that some really fast guys had signed up. I wasn’t really sure where I fell in that group so I decided that my strategy would be to redline the start and put as much traffic between me and my competitors as possible. I’ve ridden this couse enough times now that I really know when I can push it and when I can rest. I was hoping that would work to my advantage.
I hammered up the starting climb with fellow SSer Rainer Leuschke dropping most of the rest of our starting wave. Just before we entered the singletrack Rainer pulled ahead on a downhill and a couple of the 50+ guys snuck in front of me. I spent the next half lap ripping through the woods behind those guys passing as much traffic as possible. Once we all hit the first road section the guys with gears took off and left Rainer and I to go the only speed we could go. Halfway through the lap Rainer had to stop to put air in his tire but he is insanely fast and I knew I would be seeing him again. Shortly after Rainer dropped off Michael Brazel caught me and we worked together to put some distance on the rest of the pack. Rainer did eventually catch us and I pulled  both of them though the twistiest singletrack and the rest of the lap. I did my best to stay in front of them so I could control the pace because I knew if they wanted to they cold both drop me like a hot rock.
Somewhere on lap 2 on the first portion of road Brazel attacked and took off like a rocket. I sprinted to chase him down and it wasn’t until we hit a downhill that my weight advantage took over and I could close the gap. A steep and semi-sustained climb followed the downhill and that’s when Rainer decided to make his move. He passed both of us like we were standing still and we never saw him again. I got around Brazel at the top but soon had to let him pass because as my legs started to cramp. I simply couldn’t keep the blistering pace any longer.
I knew I probably wouldn’t see either of them again so I just made it my mission to keep 3rd place and hold off whoever was behind me. I had no clue who it would be or how close they were so I still had to hit it pretty hard. I used every other racer on the couse (30 or 60 miler) as a rabbit and chased down everything I could. Eventually I finished the lap and had a long downhill stretch to the finishing singletrack. Gravity was my friend again and I was able to put some more geared guys behind me before the finish. I never saw another singlespeeder and finished on the last podium spot.
More than the third place I think I am happy that I could hang with Brazel and Leuschke for as long as I did. Those two guys usually leave me behind early in every competition but this time around I was able to stay with them (and some really fast 50+ guys) for most of the race.
I really think Stottlemeyer is the best course in our area and NW Epic puts on a hell of an event. It has a little bit of every kind of terrain so it really rewards the well rounded racer/bike handler and not just the guy with the biggest lungs. I think this race has a permanent place on my schedule.
Zack Phillips