The entire course was bone-dry, except for the 50 foot section with the photographer. seriously.
What went right.
I was finally ready to go at the previously agreed upon time. Too bad my driver (can you do that? is it against blog etiquette to link to a twitter feed?) was a half hour late.
What went wrong.
Third lap. One of the sections where the course doubles back on itself. I check to see who is how far behind me and catch a glimpse of an IBC Elite team member up out of the saddle laying down some power. What? Cary? Seriously? It's his first Pro/Open race, and I've got maybe 10 seconds on him. Who does he think he is? You can't beat big brother. Ever. It's against the rules.
Well. I gotta go. The pace was lifted, caution was out flapping in the breeze. Cary was working with Matt Green. They had me in their sights, but I was successfully holding them off. Until I over-cooked the wrong line around a rooty corner and blew my front tire off the rim. Expletive.
I picked myself up (you can't blow your tire off the rim in a high speed corner and expect not to crash) pulled my bike off the trail and grabbed my inflator. The I struck the most casual pose I could. As Matt and Cary flew past I casually commented in my coolest voice, as I slowly screwed my inflator onto a fresh CO2 canister, "Don't think I'm not going to catch you two". Then they disappeared. Quickly. And I went back to panicking.
I eventually caught 'em. But there were more than a few moments when second guessed my taunting, since the gap wasn't getting any smaller. I was still yelling smack from behind the whole time "KEEP MY SPOT WARM FOR ME CARY!" I was feeling kinda' randy. I passed 'em both through the mud pit, then slayed the climb. Never saw them again. Cary dropped out and I put 1:57 into Matt on the last two laps.
What was learned.
I'm really fast at the end of races, I should try harder in the first 60%.
14 of 25. Faster than last year. I love Winding Trails. Just putting that out there.