sometimes everything just falls into place, this weekend was one of those times. we started the weekend off with a little racing action at lake manawa, psycowpath #6. the high temps had me a little nervous but the legs were there and the motivation was high. tried to stay pretty hydrated throughout the morning but the thought of a noon start time was haunting me.
after a confusing line up i slotted in front center. It was clear that kent was going to be the man to beat but the usuall suspects were all up on the line, cam, a-ron, deal, shim, sir wilhelm, schlake. my goal was to be at least fifth wheel going into the singletrack. GO! goal number 1, lost. end up about 9th wheel as we drag down towards the singletrack turn in, winding out my 36x17. goal 2 was to eventually take the lead, ride my tempo and let the group yoyo off the back of me, hopefully building a little gap.
first lap was mayhem with guys bouncing off trees and riding off trail. this was an expert race right? squezzed by wilhelm before the second section. by this point kent had checked out with mg and shim in limbo in front of the first group. at the next field section i dragged passed schlake and another rider and got up to a-ron's wheel. cam pulled mg and shim back into the group. i tried to get by shim before the next singletrack but he wasn't having it. at this point, cam was leading the group and his lack of local knowledge was less than desireable. i thought kent was gone for good. next open section and this was my opportunity. i spin up the gear to get by shim, a-ron and cam only to see kent coming back real fast. i pass on the left, cam on the right, shit this is tight. cam holds me off as we fly into the next singletrack section. i later found out kent was having chest cramps and was on a hunt for his inhaler.
lap 2 starts off and i'm now second wheel behind cam. i hold steady in his draft and come by just before we head into the trees. finally, clean trail. i start to flow and snap it through the corners stealing a second or two at each turn. goal 2 is panning out. ride my tempo, let them work harder to come up to my wheel. as planned, i'm floating off the front for whole lap. the gears let the group come up on the open sections but I am able to open the gap back up in the trees. by the end of two, my calves are twicthing but i come through with around 10-15 second gap.
lap 3 and cam beats me at my own game as they pull me back in and the train swallows me just before the singletrack. i manage to stay 5th wheel as the tempo is pretty easy to handle. for the rest of the lap our 6 pack lead group freight trains through at good tempo.
lap 4, deal says time to check out and launches the attack to end all attacks. single handedly he detonates the group. cam and a-ron try to go, shim looks done and schlake squeezes by me. to little a gear, i must have been spinning a 140 cadence. all i can think is ride tempo and slowly bring them back. wasn't happening. begin thinking damage control. water is running low, legs not to snappy and the exicutioner is flicking the switch on the electric chair. i grab a gel check behind, looks clear, back on tempo.
lap 5, can't find anne for a bottle, it's really hot, where's the effing wind? finally i see anne, get a bottle, this is good. still no sign of a chase. CRACK! darkness, stars, shit i might pass out, where did that limb come from. my head is stinging, minor concusion?, only a mile to go. shake it off, keep it smooth.
roll over the line in 5th, just in front of andy and mg, first post race call up in an expert race in a long time, made even sweeter by the fact that i'm rocking the ss. mission accomplished, damn fine birthday present. hopefully i can get initiated into to squirrels ss brotherhood. post race i even got cam to drink a beer. nothing but fun times racing bikes.
the weekend got even sweeter in the evening. nothing like having the worlds best group of friends in town for a birthday celebration. i've never been one for birthday extravaganza but rich is the man who has friends like these. i am truely a lucky man...