Going into the weekend I was feeling unsure about my goals for this race. I was aiming for a 1:25:00 - 1:30:00 finishing time, but the weeks events didn't go smooth. I was off the bike since Tuesday and Saturday's R&R was anything but. I finally settled down at 11 pm and watched the news before going to sleep.
Sunday morning went smooth and I was off to the race. Arrived about 1 hour before my start and went through the pre-race rituals. I brought the trainer so I didn't have to ride the wet roads, but when I set the bike up it was a no go. The 29" was hitting the ground with the fat tires on. Hit the road for warm up and arrived at the start house with 2 minutes to spare.
Lap 1- Go! I start pedaling and never looked back (literally). The guy I lined up with was behind me in the first 20' and the rest of the ride I was looking forward. Even on the switchbacks and other sections I didn't look back. I had a plan and thats what mattered. The plan was quite simple- Go all out for the first 5 minutes, settle into the 160's and attack the climbs. If you dip below 160 push harder. Leg speed and power seemed very comfortable. My breathing was good and I was catching riders. The trail was in great shape, considering the rain, and I was focused. Lap one is done and my computer says 42:00 flat! F'Ya I'm on pace to beat my goal.
Lap 2- Still feeling comfortable for the first couple miles, but then the ride seemed harder and less fluid. After the 'big' climb I was all over the place and seemingly hitting every rock and root. The full rigid was taking it's toll. Just before the airstrip a rider I passed earlier caught and passed. I wasn't letting him ride away. I kept talking to myself and yelling in my head, but by the time we hit the climb out of the valley he was gone. I told myself there were only 4/3/2, then 1 climb left. I hit the fire road and buried myself. I crossed the line in 1:24:17. Good for top step on the podium. I'm happy, but now the target is on my back? Or maybe not, I'm still the not very well known, and that's how I like it.