What, its been a week since installment one? Well that’s just me trying to build the suspense sorta Harry Potter style.
We roll out to a staggered start around 7 am. I really wish they had started everyone together, with about 10 miles of dirt roads to sort things out I think it would have been fine and would have allowed for more racing. They didn’t though, sending everyone out in waves every couple of minutes. Expert SII ended up being the first on the road followed by the rest of the experts and somewhere back there were the elites. For about 10 minutes we rolled along at a brisk but manageable pace. Soon, though, Andy made his first dig of the day and broke out from the front of the bunch. I was feeling comfortable and knew that to hop on at his pace I’d be putting myself at risk of going too hard too early so I watched as he disappeared in the distance. Soon after the eventual winner, Michael Broderick (who I later heard came in third in the pro field at mount snow this year!) motored by us with a small caravan in tow. Me and a couple of others jumped on as well and tried to keep the pace for as long as we could. Before long, Broderick had pulled the group up to Andy. Soon after we hit a section of “trail” that took us along the edge of railroad tracks that in areas was so tight because of encroaching bushes that riders had to be especially attentive. At one point, with Andy right on my wheel, I heard the sound of branches hitting metal behind me and thought Andy had brushed too close to the edge. After a couple of minutes of no more sound behind me, I looked back to see no-one there despite the fact that we had had a nice train going. It turns out Andy had clipped a railroad tie, did some aerobatics and ended up down the embankment. Andy was later able to bridge back up and passed my group despite taking a serious hit to the melon during the fall.
After losing contact with the lead group of four I settled in with a group of similar pace and ground out the remainder of the semi-flat opening miles. At one point Adam Bradley, who I kind of sort of knew from racing against each other a few times, took a monster pull of about 20 minutes through the worst section of the day, a sandy rail trail. That was to become the theme of the race, Adam would pull me along on the fast sections, he gap me slightly on the climbs and then I’d frantically try to pull him back on the technical downhill sections so that I could get a good pull again for the many dirt road pieces. Adam and I would stay together that way until about 10 miles to go doing our best to reel people in, dodging angry dogs along the way.
With 10 or 15 miles to go I was able to open a gap on Adam on a tech descent and ensuing tech singletrack (he was probably cooked from pulling me the whole day too I’m sure) and with a few minutes he was no longer in sight. I continued to put the hammer down and ran like a scared dog whenever I’d come to a fast open section that he was so good on. At some point around this time I finally succumbed to the urge to piss I’d had since before the race started. I had hoped to get through the race without stopping but it was no use and by the time I had finished the job, Adam and one other had bridged back up. We again formed a small group until I was, once again, able to open up a gap and slowly extended it over the next few miles.
Soon after, while on a particularly tough climb, I heard the tell tale signs from behind and looked back to see Skip Brown closing in on me pushing his massive gear. From then on til the end Skip and I would swap spots back and forth until the last few miles when I was able to get away a bit and open a tiny gap of about a minute to roll across the line in 5:43. Unfortunately, Skip had started two minutes behind me so his final time was 5:42 and 5th overall which pushed me to 6th and first in expert SII.
About 10 minutes later, Andy rolled in and I did a double take since he had passed me about three hours prior never to be seen again but it turns out he and one other took a costly wrong turn down a long hill and lost 10-ish minutes backtracking. Suckfest
That’s it for today. Next time “THE AFTERMATH!”