What a day for a race! Low 70’s and sunny and 450 riders. (an almost perfect day for me, just needed some clouds :p who has the tent at this point anyway?) I was kinda hoping to meet the route 66 guys but only ran into Dan Voss (congrats on the cat3 victory) Think I saw Fabian’s name on the results TV but I couldn’t find him anywhere.
I got to the venue a bit early and was suited up by 9:15am. Rolling over to the start line I ran into Andy Gould. (Poor Andy has been cursed by mechanicals this year and today was no different) After cheering Alby and the other marathoners on at the start, (they did two of the 25 mile laps) I went out on the pavement to get warmed up.
I decided to take it easy at the start, and for the first mile it did not matter. Once we hit the narrow stuff traffic started to become an issue however. Thankfully the one an only climb (it was small just a couple hundred feet) was near the beginning of the race. It was washed out double track so I bounced out to the right and decided to pin it. Pass a bunch of riders, the last of whom decided to try and hold my wheel. I could barely hear him struggling for oxygen over my own hyperventilating but I kept the foot firmly to the floor. Broke free of the group and after a brief recovery the Trek and I were free to fly.
The course was very flat with a mix of just about everything. Fast sections of double track, then onto pavement for a few hundred feet then onto a single track trail, rinse and repeat. The single track was incredibly fun. The full suspension Trek was perfect, its an older trail system with a lot of exposed roots and a few fun rock gardens. Around mile 5-6 there was a cool little terrain park with manicured dirt rollers. At mile 20-21 there were several sharp 15 foot 20+ grade ups you had to hit at speed to clean. Some neat long bridges too, next to the Pinnacle this is definitely my favorite race course.
About half way into the race I caught the eventual 19-29 winner wearing a Specialized jersey and free ride pants. I made the pass on a section of pavement and then preceded to immediately give the spot back after misjudging a hard left back onto the single track. D’oh! So I figure just to stick to his wheel for a bit. Then of course the #%^$%^ Paul chain keeper failed me and I had to stop for ten seconds to reset my chain after a bumpy downhill section. After a few mile chase I was back on Specialized jersey’s wheel. We then hit an 8 foot sandy bump which he clears and I spin out on… suck back to chasing.
I catch back up around mile 17. The single track here is really fun but some of the roots are wet so I decide to hold back a bit. He crashes in front of me but I couldn’t take advantage. Towards the end of one of the single track section, just as I was getting set up for a pass I clip a stick on the side of the trail and wipe out. Hey guess what, back to chasing. At the feed station at mile 22 I grab my second bottle and head out with everything I have to once again close the gap.
I catch up to Specialized in the last mile but I had nothing left to pass with. We roll into the finish together and I congratulate him on a fantastic race. End results I finished the 25 miles in 2 hours and 4 minutes (a testament to how flat the place is). I was 2nd in class and I think 2nd overall Cat2. Still waiting for the results to be posted.
This race course was awesome, I had so much fun. Definitely planning on attending this event again in the future.