Just a quick recap of my race:
So I’ve now done this race all five years and this year was certainly my best. As a novice I could only ride a small portion of the tech, this year I cleaned almost everything (including the rock bridge both laps) except for one 100 foot section of downhill between the two climbs.
The course is 9+ miles with the first half consisting of two climbs to the top of the same hill with the “pebble” and the second half really great singletrack.
So to the race. Because us experts, me included :-), refused to wait in the sun in our designated age groups the race organizers didn’t realize how many Vet I’s and Vet II’s there were. They decided to start both groups at the same time with us Vet I’s in the front row. Now for those that don’t know the Vet II (40-49) group has some monsters since there is no 40+ Elite class. Shawn, realizing what was about to happen joked for them to not run us over but…
I have just a 28T ring up front and no power so as foreseen by Jedi Shawn I was IMMEDIATELY engulfed by 3 or 4 Vet II’s and the next thing I know I’m on the ground with 5 or 6 others. Awesome way to start a race. Once collected I focused on catching back up with Shawn.
The Plan: I was going to just stay with Shawn. As long as he finished within a place or two of Scott Hood he’d take the expert Vet I season points victory. I grabbed Shawn’s wheel near the top of the first climb and I was happy to see he was right on Scott’s wheel. The three of us rode together till the start of the second big climb when Scott pulled away. Once again Shawn told me he was not feeling well and to just press on. I grabbed a random wheel at the top of the climb and decided not to press to hard in the hopes that Shawn would catch back up.
The wheel I grabbed was one of Matt Chandler’s friends. I’m mad at myself cause I forgot his name but he was in a plain red jersey. I had a little more fitness but man were his tech skills impressive. I followed him for the remainder of the first lap. He was cleaning all the tech stuff with ease and in the process showing me all the proper lines, it was great! As we rolled along we saw Matt on the side of the trail fixing a flat. After berating him at length 🙂 the two of us continued to press on.
With still no Shawn as the two of us came through transition I came up with the idea that if he was going to have a bad day, the best thing I could do to help would be to steal some points from Scott. The creepy computer voice at transition told me I was in 4th place so a possible podium spot would come with the catch as well. With a fresh bottle in hand I dropped the hammer and made catching back up with Scott the priority. I found him faster than I anticipated catching glimpse of him at the beginning of the first climb. Half way up the first climb I see Scott in cruse control holding someone’s wheel so I kept my distance a bit in the hopes that he would not see me. Unfortunately after about 5 minutes of excellent stalking I apparently rolled over a twig or squirrel or something and the jig was up.
He pressed on and I was forced to do the same, grabbing his wheel at the top of the first climb. I figured a pass on the way down was in the cards…. NOT A CHANCE. Scott pull away almost immediately. I kept him in sight until we reached the one place I could not ride. This lap there was a tree down and as I looked down to navigated around it Scott had disappeared into the distance. D’oh!
Thankfully half way up the second climb I was able to catch him again. Once again on his wheel the two of us managed to catch and pass the second place guy. SWEET! The second climb has a false flat, Scott continued to press a little bit but I backed off to recover. On the last piece of the climb, which is quite steep, I made my move reaching to top first. The downhill after the second climb is less technical so I pressed hard and was able to gap Scott quickly.
So somehow I got super lucky with the whole CRAZY BEE ATTACK INCIDENT TERRIBLENESS HURRICANE 2012, LIVE COVERAGE AT 6:
By the time I got to the spot where the bees were a 100 foot reroute was put in place on the right that got me around in no time. The strange thing is that the exact same thing happened two or three years ago I think. Can’t remember if it was the same spot or not but crazy. The first bee incident I think only a few people got stung a bunch. This time round I guess a bunch of people got stung a few times 🙁
I had as much fun as possible on the last few miles of singletrack, which is a really fantastic reward for finishing the climbs and the rock gardens in the first 7 miles. Sadly passing Teammate Mark Tucker on the side of the trail fixing a flat 🙁
So I finished in 2nd place Expert Vet I in a time of pretty much exactly 2 hours. Gotta say after doing the Hampshire 100K last weekend this race felt super short :p
Sadly Shawn was forced to DNF when his front fork failed. Mark had to run the last mile+ tearing his trademark baggies. The youngsters did well getting 1st and 2nd I believe despite being diverted by the bees. I’ll update this once the official results are posted.