Temperature was mid 50s. Adam Cefai was in the house and it was great to see him and warm up with him prior to the race. Experts returned and gave reports that the track was running fast. We lined up a little before 1pm and chatted with all of the ‘usual suspects’. I said good bye to Adam as he was going to start behind the sport class. My good friend Gary was there, realized that I did not have my transponder on. Starter said, no problems…they would track me based on my number.
We rolled. Gary took a wide sprint to the right to get into a cleaner line. Gary and I have been racing each other for years, I figured that was the last I would see him. Nice little pitch up to start the race kept us well bunched together and I could see the front guy run away, but the rest of us were pretty close to each other.
The new course has us going through the woods on a lopping carving path that is not hard, but is difficult to keep speed. I stayed with the top 5 riders and pushed from the back until we had a chance to pass. Gary was in 3rd wheel when we go to some nice straight lines. I recovered on his wheel and chatted with him about how some fat tire guy flew through the curves like he was on skis.
We got to the first road crossing and I passed Gary and told him to take my wheel and I would pull for a while. As we came up to a choke point in the turn, one guy squeezed by me, but I figured Gary was still on my 6. He was actually rubbed off at the choke point and so I drove up to be next to the guy who slid past me as we hit the wash outs on the west side of the course.
No real action, one or two single speeds came by, then I heard Adam call me. I slid over and let him pass, he was about 20 seconds behind the two guys in front of him.
I rode the wheel of a couple guys who were keeping a good pace in some tight single track and the guy behind me was calling out turns and obstacles like a rally driver’s co pilot. We made the hard left onto the yellow course.
We looped through the Blue Lot start and were in the final stretch. I was passed by Mr. Sharphorne. I respect the crap out of this guy. I pushed hard to stay with the 72 year old legend and as we came up to the finishing loop. I hung on his wheel, could have passed, but felt it was heresy to do so. I pulled along next to him in the last 100 yards and he saw me out of the corner of his eye. He picked up the tempo a bit and I said I was not going to challenge him for the line and let him get in front of me. Sometimes you don’t need a yellow jersey to get a great deal of respect.
I finished somewhere in the top 10, but had a great ride with some great people.