.... the season finale already! Don't say it's so.... It's way to early for the mtb season to be over already! There are at least a couple of good months left for racing, and I don't care if it overlaps w/ Cross... I finally have my endurance pegged a little bit better, where I feel like I can handle racing hard for 2 + hours and it's over! WTF... What the hell am i going to do w/ myself???? Cross?? Fun certainaly, but that is just 45 mins long. I spend all season working hard so I could handle more than 45 mins! Damn!
As will be mentioned in posts I will write soon for previous races I have yet to write a race report for, I have learned through the season that I am slow...at the start that is. I need to give my body a chance to really warm up before I hit it hard. Most likely due to being 40+ (and a reason I will always suck at cross).
Landmine is a great course that suits me perfectly! I lined up at the back and at the start had planned on staying on Scott's wheel and let him pace me until I felt warmed up. Well the grassy section around the parking set me back a lot more than expected (I hate riding on grass) and when I made to the single track, Scott was well ahead with lots of guys in between us. I had counted 18 at the start, and had one rider behind me. It was still quite early in the race but I did not want to get dropped that much already so I decided to really pick up the pace and reel Scott in. I was able to so just as the rooty climb started. I think I passed three riders to get there. I recovered surprisingly quickly from that effort and soon found the pace too slow, especially on the short climbs. I knew it was still very early in the race but decided since I felt good, I should go for it and not over pace myself. My suspension had been set up carefully the night before (for once) and the bike was just flowing over the rocks and roots. Racers were riding around obstacles which I was just riding over and this really helped me pass several more riders. That crazy fast 50+ guy (I forgot his name) passed me what seemed way to early in the race, and so I grabbed his wheel and tried to hang on for as long as I could. Since there were some road sections, this was quite helpful, and soon we caught up to a couple of other riders in my age group who also jumped the train but could not hang on. Eventually neither could I and the moment I let go, I saw three riders ahead who I knew were also in my age group. They caught his wheel as he passed and every time they hit smooth single track or pavement they would grow the gap. They were not able to hang on for too long, and slowly, especially in the technical sections, I would pull them in. Finally, I was able to pass them but they would be right back on my wheel as soon we hit those numerous short pavement sections, which quickly became quite demoralizing. There was finally a long section of dirt w/ some short steep climbs and fun challenging "whopty dos" (sp?) where I was able to get clear. For the rest of the race I kept on switching places w/ a "kid" in the 19 to 29 age group until the finish where he pulled away. Since this was only my second time finishing this course (dnf'ed last year after cracking my wheel landing a jump) it was really hard to figure out where I was and how much further I had left. I was quite surprised when the trail suddenly came out of the woods and I found the finish line. I was expecting at least another 4 miles to the course. I also had no idea where I placed at all. I was hoping for top 10.
After the race, Nate and I waited for the results to be posted but due to some snafu, they were still not posted after 2 hours, so we ended up leaving w/out being able to check. I was texted I finished 5th which I was quite pleased with! As I am typing this though, official results just got posted on the root 66 site, and I finished 4th! Damn I am pretty happy w/ that. Most importantly I was only 4 mins off from first place (as compared to 26 mins at the start of the season)! I'll take that and that's not a bad way to close my first Cat 1 season!!!!