No question this is my favorite race. Loved it last year and again this year. Another strong NEMBA EFTA rider showing (all the usual suspects), and by far the best weather day I have ever seen in my short race career. Blue sky, dry ground, dry roots, great temps, and a nice cool wind kept any would be bugs away.
I was looking for redemption in this one. I felt good at the start. I needed some points. I needed to believe that the Grind was not a fluke! My Big Ring Rumpus result was so poor, it left me questioning my move to expert. I got blown out the back so fast on that damn dirt race track in Auburn NH, it left me questioning everything from my fitness, to my ride schedule, to my nutrition. I even paid a visit to the doctors to get checked out the following Thursday.
The prep before the race. Time to get back to last year’s order of things. Race Sunday, hard group road ride Tuesday, lower intensity Thursday ride, and a EZ Friday pedal. Rest the body on Saturday. That was last years winning format. Almost like a mini taper going into Sunday.
Race Day; Lined up with Steve C. It’s great to have a teammate at the start to keep things light. Ten or Eleven of us at the start, and many of the same faces from the previous races too. 5…4…3…2…1… We take off, I pull up next to Steve, we’re riding on the lower flats together. Legs are feeling ok at this point as we hit the neighborhood section and back into the dirt. Once the climb began though it was time for the fast guys to start stamping their authority on the field. Steve takes off, and a few others go too. I hold my own best the best I can. Kept cursing (damn hill) Finally settled in and got in rhythm. Ran into the crazy single geared folks first. S Pinney, let me pass after holding up a competitor. (thanks man) Then I came across K Orlowski after cresting the top of the climb. Hammer time! Downhill is one of the best I know of. Orlowski is a sick man, fully rigid and was riding downhill hard! That was until, Crash! Yard sale. Just like last year! Apparently riding in front of the Bully gets him a bit nervous and twitchy in the corners. Spectacular crash Kevin!
Lap 2; Nice photo below. This guy I had caught on the lap 2 downhill section and was right behind him starting lap 3. I told him what was going to happen and it did. He got 5th cause he beat the crap out of me on the 3rd climb!
Lap 3; Turns out that rider may of been helping me catch another rider on a Niner Kermit green HT. With easily less that 1/4 of a mile left to go and after some time riding by myself. I see just ahead that bright green Kermit colored bike. Can’t miss it, yup that guy is in my cat. Time to give it some gas. I’m on his wheel going into the new single track section just before you hit the plummet. We both come out of the woods and onto the fire road heading for the 30+ mile an hour down. I pull around, come even and then gas it a little more. We go from 18 to 30+ in just a couple seconds. Hang on and don’t screw this one up on the grassy field below. 6th spot by a mere 2 seconds! Those were my damn points! You’ve just been bullied….
Used my new Superfly Elite – Climbing was much better with the hardtail (better)
Climbed the 2.5 mile climb all three times in my 36t front (better)
11:12 better than last years sport time (I’ll take it)
Set the HRM aside in the AM (less to pay attention to)
1 spot out of the top 10 overal
11 out of 62 Experts
Moved up to 7th in Expert Vet I (less bodies than Vet II, but they are all fast)