This Sunday was the annual Horror on Harding Hill Road mountain bike race. After pre-riding the course I couldn't see why it had the name that it does. The course wasn't particularly technical. In fact, it was pretty darn easy. It didn't have a whole lot of climbing, only a few climbs early in the lap that were at max 2-3 minutes long each. Huh, how horrible could this be?
By race time I was a bit late getting to the line but thankfully, because of staging procedures and a starting line wide enough for at least 20 people I was able to snag a spot in the middle of the front row. Because we were mass starting I knew I wanted a good start up the newly mowed field start so when the gun went off, so did I and somehow, within a few seconds I found myself ahead of the rest of the field but I didn't want to be at the very front with 5 minutes of carriage road type riding at the beginning of the lap so I eased up and let four folks past as we entered the course.
My biggest fans.
I held onto the four for the first 10 minutes but once we hit the climbs I knew I was out classed and had to let them ride away. I was feeling good and ripping the short single track sections like no one's business but not setting the world on fire in the power and climbing sections. By the end of lap one, Brian Currier came by me. Brian handily kicked my ass at the Rumpus so I wasn't concerned but I wanted to hold his wheel which I managed to do through most of the second lap.
Towards the end of lap two I had lost all of my mental faculties and even had to ask Marcy and Amanda what lap I was on after lap two. Yep, things didn't look good. I was still in fourth overall (I had passed one of the early leading three) but I knew trouble was ahead so I downed my entire hammer gel flask and soldiered on. During lap three, a dude who passed me in the fast sections on lap two only to have me fly by on the tech stuff passed me again blazing ahead on the climbs only to have me real him in during each single track section. This would continue for the rest of the race. Almost.
On my last lap I was hurting. Bad. I was unable to push the pace at all on the climbs. On multiple occasions I tried to make a last lap surge only to have my cramping quads shut me down. Early in the lap, the eventual expert s2 winner passed me and jokingly chastised me for not pushing the pace since I handily outsprinted him at the rumpus but, sadly, I had nothing to give. I held onto him and two others until about a mile from the end but at that point I had lost all hope of my power coming back and just pushed on hoping to not lose any more spots.
Also during that last lap, I saw KillBill catching up to me on one of the earlier climbs. That did light a bit of a fire in me because even if I wasn't contending for the overall expert win I could still take home some Midcoast Maine total domination points. I pushed on and somehow lost him (I later found out that he had a nasty crash shortly after bringing me into sight) until less than a minute from the end when he came blazing up to me. I tried for about 3 seconds to hold him off but had to give in and he passed me right before popping into the field and the finish. Drat.
In the end I was 3rd in expert vet 1 and 8th overall. Not bad really but not what I had hoped.