The Great Adventure Challenge
As I entered the mtb portion of the event I wasn't yet worried. Last year I had a 7 minute deficite to the reigning champ going into the mtb so I knew that I had a chance of erasing the 6+ minute gap this year. The only thing that I didn't know was how fast the dudes were in front of me...
The first few miles of broken pavement and dirt road allowed me to hammer and pass most of the 20-ish folks ahead of me. I pulled most of them back pretty quickly and it gave my ego a little boost every time I blasted by one, but there were a few who were pesky. One of the guys was (I think) the eventual overall 3r place solo finisher and he looked to be in his early 50's. When I passed him, he told me that he was in second up til that point and then he proceeded to hold my wheel for a few miles holding my draft with what seemed like ease. This made me extremely nervous since having a draft on this course in pretty helpful and I was afraid that if he drafted me the whole way he'd be fresher for the "run". I would have liked to have used a draft from him but I was afraid that if I didn't keep it on the rivet I'd never catch first place. Thankfully, once the trails tilted upward, I was able to open a gap and I never saw him again.
The bike section also gave me a chance to dump a bunch of diluted coke down my gullet. I knew that once the "run" started that drinking would be tough (and during the kayak it was impossible) so I decided to get as much fluids in me as possible.
About 2/3's of the way through mtb section, I came to the impossible climb. A long STEEEEEP hill with a series of giant drainage ditches running diagonally across the trail. Last year, Andrew was the only person to ride it. This year I went into the race intending to ride it as well but about 1/3 of the way in I realized how stupid it was to try and bailed. This was the section that I took the solo lead last year so I kept looking ahead hoping to make the catch but it didn't happen. The last couple of miles blazed past without any sight of him so I resolved to catch him on the "run".
The "run" tomorrow.