Thinking about that makes this year all the better. Last year at this time I was barely riding and I weighed a 10 year high of 194 pounds. I am currently 178lbs and although I have been fighting allergies/cold/ or something for while, I am probably the fastest I have ever been. I may not be getting on the podium, but I am putting up a good fight, unlike last year when I was fighting for last.
So, on to the race report. I was hoping there were going to be call-ups like there have been in the past. I would have had a front position then, but there were no call ups. So I was second row of 3 and half.
I was behind the right guys but had my worst start of the year somehow, and was in about 15-18 place coming out of turn 2. That was a bad place to be because the next 400 meters of course was basically singletrack when it came to passing and I was stuck behind guys braking hard in every corner.
By the straightway the top 6 had a huge lead on me so I put down some power and got in front of about 5 more guys before the next technical section. Slow down. Then it was the greasy hill and I dug deep to get in front of 3 or 4 more guys. I was coming down the hill and the lead group was already heading back up again. I almost broke there mentally. But I had gotten in front of the corner-brakers, so things were smoother and faster (the tracer I had in front was like velcro, I wish I had 2).
After that I set my sights on what was apparently 5th and 6th place. Chris and Mike were a ways ahead of me but it seemed like if I sprinted out of every corner and stood up on the hills I was making up time. It took me about a lap to make contact with Chris. He was hacking up something awful and as I was pulling away he yelled something about me being 34 and being in the race on a technicality.
It took another lap or 2 to catch Mike. He slipped out in a corner and I finally bridged.
I rode his wheel for a lap but in doing so J.W. was able to start catching up to us, so I hopped in front and starting hitting it at the pace I was at when I caught Mike. After a lap I was really feeling it and asked Mike if he wanted to pull. He mumbled something to the effect of "No." So I kept at it.
Then with 2 or 3 to go (I think 2) either way it was a 1/3 lap after I asked Mike to pull, he jumps me! I think he was trying to bridge to Will, whom we were slowly catching. I didn't have the pop to hop on his wheel.
And when Will saw Mike coming he hit too. For the last couple of laps that is how it went. Will, Mike, and me pretty evenly spaced. I took the time for a nice beer hand-up after the uphill barriers on the last lap. Most of it ended up frozen in my beard. It was cold and windy.
It was a ton of fun. I loved the long course. And even though I was spewing mucous, I felt good once I was going. Now, because of scheduling, I only have 2 races left and they are spread out. The regional champs on Dec. 10th and Nationals on Jan. 7th. If things go the way they have so far with the race predictor for nationals, I should get a better start spot than I would have thought at the beginning of the season. Somewhere near the back of the top third. I'll take it!