James Engle: Ghorba Big Chainring and Ft. Davis Hammerfest (kinda)

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Archive for 13 April, 2011
James Engle has been back to the races the last couple of weekends, but this time he has a pretty extraordinary race report. Two weekends ago, James raced the Ghorba Big Chainring Mountain Bike Race. This season, James is racing the "Sport"/Cat 2 Category, which falls between Beginner and Expert. James finished 10th out of 38th in his first Sport Mountain Bike Race! Here's a short race report from James:
"The race started out and had a good run at the hole shot, did not want to go in first, but it is chaotic going into the single track and I was pushed into about 20th spot. Rode with a good group, had a nice pace that suited me. We stayed this way until the first opening and we all split up into smaller group. I was feeling pretty good going into second lap. As we entered the clearing beginning the second lap, I grabbed a gel and my water bottle. I did not realize we went thru a large sand volleyball pit and luckily stayed up right with my snack and bottle. At this point I realized I was not going to have a large group that would pace me along, so I left the rider I was with and worked to pick off riders in front of me. These would be riders from my race and the other heats.An area that I really excelled and always would pass and drop riders was on the fire roads that we went on. They always went uphill, I would shift into a high gear and just spin away."
This last weekend went a little differently, though. James raced (or at least attempted to race!) the Ft. Davis Hammerfest out in West Texas. The first stage is 16 miles and has some pretty nasty climbs, including a 2 mile climb that gets as steep as 17% grade! James survived this grueling stage and even saved a bit in the tank for the second stage (his favorite!): the Time Trial. This is James' report of how the second stage (or half of it) went:
"With the time trial, I was the 2nd rider in 4s to start. I did not like this, I had only one rider to chase down. I started and within a mile, I caught one rider. I worked to keep my effort up and keep the pedals turning. Up over a rise, I caught one of the Cat 3 riders that started at least 6 minutes ahead of me. That gave me a boost of confidence and I labored on. I was about 100 yards from the turn around when the sheriff was coming at me, turned on the siren and told me the race was canceled and head back. I thought since the turn around was right there, I would go up and turn around and head back. The next car to go by me was an official, she told me the sheriff said on the radio if I didn't get in the truck, he was coming back to arrest me! Oh well, my race was done.
As we drove back to the start, the fire had made it to about 100 yards from the road. All of a sudden the sky turned dark, you no longer could see the sun, and I began to get a little concerned. A state trooper went down the middle of town announcing on his PA, the town was being evacuated and leave imediately. We quickly loaded up the car and headed home. What a weekend!"
Here's a photo of Ft. Davis, taken from the TXBRA website:

Glad you made it out of there, James, without getting burned! :-)
Next up for James is the CB&I Triathlon!

James Engle, GHORBA Big Chainring Challenge