Humiliating. That pretty much sums up my feelings coming off of Sunday’s race. I was feeling pretty good at the start of the week but came down with a nasty sinus infection. I still felt pretty good Sunday morning and was pretty amped to get started.
It was a small field of 11 in my group and we all kinda took it easy out the gate. The course was 2 1/2 laps on a 6 mile course up and down the mountain. You climb half way up on the first lap and the second and third are full summit climbs. Five minutes into the race I realized there was going to be no race “strategy” and I was going to be lucky just to finish. This course was pretty sweet but it highlights two significant flaws in my riding skills. Long sustained climbs and fast descent’s. My first two laps were pretty slow, and I was passed more times than I cared to count. As far as I knew I was dead last and fading quick. Heading into the last lap I started to feel a little better and headed back up the mountain. I was starting to fade near the top of the summit and I heard another rider coming up behind me. I offered to let him by but he said he was good for the time being. He was pretty encouraging and let me know how much further we had to the top. We finally bounced out on to a fire road, and I realized it was my fellow team mate Mark Horvath. I can’t tell you how much it helped to hear some encouragement from a teammate. It really gave me the extra boost I needed and I feel it is one of the best things about being a part of a a race team. He passed me on the fire road, but I was able to keep up with him the rest of the way to the top before losing him on the downhill. I had a pretty good battle going on all the way down the mountain with a guy from Clark Brothers racing and he finally passed me on the plummet and finished just ahead of me. Thankfully he was in a different class. I thought for sure I finished last, but I ended up finishing in 8th place.
All in all, it was a pretty awesome day despite a poor showing. The weather was perfect and it was fun to see so many of my teammates race well and grab some podium spots. So it’s back to training again. I see a lot of hill repeats in my future while I figure out which race I will do next.