As Eric Cook, Dave Goff, and I were making our way to registration table I felt as though I was going to have a lonely 20+ miles out there on the course not seeing any other mountain bikes let alone SS. With the usual pre-race preparations complete we made our way to the start line setting around the front 3rd of the field. When the gun went off I was at top speed with a few strokes of the crank as the back half of the field passed me like I was out cruising around on a Sunday ride. With in the first half mile we turned onto the gravel roads and now I had the advantage.
The dirt roads started out a little wet and loose for the riders with skinny tires, so I was able to regain all that was lost and even caught a group that Eric was leading. As I hung on to the back of this group we started to pull away from the field behind us. Eric was trying to organize a push to catch the leaders but the group was too worried about racing each other. After about 8-9 miles of spinning out and bouncing off my saddle I realized I was going to blow myself up and not keep a good pace to make it to the end so I backed off a little and let the pack go. Reality is we got out on to some pavement and the pack left me behind to fight a stiff head wind for the next 6+ miles. I would periodically catch a dropped rider, draft off them for a rest and then move on.
A mile or two after the half way point there was an option for mountain bikes to take a shorter route on a rail trail. I thought good idea take it. Not sure if that was true or not. I traded a hill climb for riding down a 3/4 mile rail bed of loose 3-4 inch size rocks that had me cussing the whole way how stupid that it was to take. Note – don’t take the rail trail short cut.
Knowing I was on my way back toward he finish I put my head down and just spun away. Having riders insight to chase made it bearable to keep pushing ahead. I was able to pass 3-4 riders while trying to real in one more before the finish but he was able to slip away having the advantage on climbing the hill at the finish line. All in all it was fun and I even finished on the podium. Unfortunately they had some mistakes with the results so I wasn’t listed until the next day and didn’t get my picture with the rest of the finishers. I look forward to a repeat performance in the fall race.