Well, this past weekend I finally got the elusive first win of the season in the Expert class. I had previously won a single speed race and a couple of small local races but that was it and I was starting to get frustrated. I've been finishing second to Big Gay Al for the last few races.
This weekend at Sugarloaf I felt that I had a shot at my first senior 2 win since Al would be at pedros and my legs were feeling good. For the last few races there has been a 16 yr old that has been getting screamingly fast and has managed to whup me in the last two races so my plan going into the race was to mark him, stay on his heels and make my move near the finish.
The race started well with me sitting in fourth right behind boy wonder and with a couple of pros off the front. I stayed on boy wonder's wheel for the first two laps feeling really strong and trying to decide at what point I was going to make my move. He seemed to suffer on the long opening climb so my updated plan was to let him pull me up the climb and 3/4 of the way up make my move before the single track and try to hold him off til the end. By the end of the second lap, we had passed the two pros because one had a flat and the other had his chain come off a couple of times so we began the final lap 1,2. As we hit the rollers that come before the main climb I notice that I'm not even working to stay with boy wonder now so I decide to make my move early. I shift up a couple of gears and power past him on one of the rollers. I decided to hump it until I was out of sight and then settle into a more reasonable tempo.
The move worked perfectly and I was off on my own at the front of the pack. 10 minutes later while I was working my way up the main climb I hear grunting behind me. I look back to see one of the pros on his single speed gaining on me. I know that I can't increase my tempo without blowing so I keep my pace and he soon passes me. Damn! I guess I can kiss the overall win goodbye. A few minutes later the pro that flatted comes up from behind and passes me like I'm sitting still! I'm still not too worried. These guys are not my real competition and there is no way that I can hang with them anyway so I let them go and concentrate on wining the overall in the expert class instead.
I crest the climb with nobody else in sight and start to hammer through all of the downhill singletrack and fireroad power sections. About a mile from the finish I catch up to single speed just before the last couple sections of single track. I hammer to bridge the final gap in hopes that I'll be able to pass him on one of the fast fireroad sections that he is unable to spin fast enough on to match my speed.
Apparently, I must have lit my last match crossing that final gap because once on I was on his wheel and we entered the singletrack I could only hold on for a minute or so and then he was gone. I finished 20 seconds behind him and I think about 2 minutes behind the winner and a solid 3 minutes ahead of the second place finishing expert. Probably my best finish of the year.
This should give me a good lead in points for the season but with our baby due in a couple of weeks I may miss the final two races. Hopefully I'll be able to do one or both in a sleep deprived state to at least pick up some points but we'll see.