I was curious if I was going to feel 100% after the Enchilada race, and somehow by Wednesday I was feeling good. Maybe I am a little more fit that I normally am this time of year? I kind of laid low this week and just did really one effort in the middle of the week. Thursday I disappeared for a little and worked on dialing in the A line at the ST course. It really isn’t anything difficult, but with 2:1 on the SS it is easily a make or break section of the course versus the longer, less gradual part.
I must have rode this 7-8 times before I really understood how to attack it, and once I got it, I figured it for good.
It’s not pretty, but it works.
The real fun would start Saturday night, when it downpoured around midnight and I assume it would be a muddy mess.
Sunday comes around and I head over to scope out the course. The first half is slick, but the second half it looks like it never rained. Chalk it up to good trail building. I take one crack and it and it’s dry as a bone, sweet.
Warm up a little bit with everyone and I’m curious how this will all pan out. I know most of the contenders in the field, and we are all familiar with one another. For me, the first race of the season is always the one you want to win the most. Sure, the others count, but the first one is the one EVERYONE is amped up about.
We have a good start but as always, Rich is off like a ROCKET. Close the gap into the ST and just aim on not crashing. Not sure what is going on behind me, but I’m not to worried about it. Chat for a little with Rich and we both seem to be coasting on the downhill sections the same, hard to really go faster today. I’m curious how the A line plays out and I give Rich some room to make sure he doesn’t bobble and cause the Jenga blocks to fall. As I do I hear someone on my tail. By the time we get to the slight gravel incline back to the Start, I notice it’s Andy. Cool. It’s just us 3 at this point.
As we get closer to the little chicane into the parking lot, Rich is just finishing his sentence about “it would be cool if we could ride together the whole race” and something just clicks in my brain… “lets push the pace a little.” I come around the outside before the finish line and just spin 2:1 a notch above tempo, not really a huge effort or attack, but noticeable that someone will have to pick up on it. I figure if I push a good second lap at my pace, maybe it will hurt the two of them. As the road curls back on itself I see that they aren’t on my wheel anymore, but still in reach.
Thanks Boyd for the video of the coolest carpet berm’d section in CLT.
The race is really on the road for the SS. It’s impossible to go much faster today in the slick beginning of the lap. I hammer the road on lap 2 and notice the gap gets bigger here. Hmm, wonder if this will work out? Are the two of them content on letting me burn myself out? No time to figure it out now, just keep on the gas.
Around lap 5 I feel confident that all I have to do is not crash and I should be okay. I play it safer in sections of the single track and politely ask some of the lap traffic if it is cool to pass. All is going well.
On the second to last lap I’m behind a Masters 50+ rider who’s riding the A line, and I’m forced to run it. Which I did well surprisingly, even though the heckle crowd wasn’t having it.
The last lap I bobble the A line, but receive a nice friendly push from the heckle pit who applaud me for my efforts. I get to cruise the gravel back to the parking lot and end up winning the first short track race of the year.
It was a strange day for sure. I’m curious if I pulled the ultimate attack at the right time, if I had the right gear for the day, if everyone else was undergeared, etc. It felt like everything just worked out too well for me today. I know Andy was undergeared and pretty sure Rich was too, which was interesting. The other good feel of the day the lap times we were pushing were on pace with the Super Sport category guys with gears, which is the other race I would do if the 1pm time slot doesn’t work, or if it’s a nice warm sunny day and the famalam wants to come out and support Dad.
I won a 6er of beer and passed it along to the guy who was in the right place at the right time, Jason Wilson. I kept the water bottle, cool Sierra Nevada bag and bottle opener.
Sunday is a long way away, and I’m sure it’s going to be a way different race for #2.