We were however lucky enough to hit a lull in the storm and got our tent set up and tied down rain free. The course was destroyed from heavy rains and high winds overnight. The tornado sirens even sounded on the Kentucky side of the Ohio but we had nothing in Indiana.
Finally at about eight o'clock we got word that all races would be delayed by two hours. I was kind of irritated that the decision wasn't handed down sooner as I'd gone light on breakfast expecting a 10:30 start but now wasn't going until 1:00. With the van stuck we couldn't go anywhere either. So Tom kitted up and did his workout on the trainer while I chilled out in the back of the van.
We eventually got to watch the 45+ guys go at it in their heat, I know Don Myrah won one of the heats, not sure on the other. At 11:00 I kitted up hoping to get a solid hour of warm up time on the trainer. With our heat races only being two laps you had to be ready to go from the whistle.
Baselayer, skinsuit, embro, go. It was wet, muddy but relatively warm. I was supposed to have a number four call up but one of the guys missed his call and I got the lane I wanted. At the whistle I got the holeshot and went about dousing the entire field as we hit the grass (aka. lake).
I found myself on the wrong side of the course immediately and was quickly passed by Mike Yozell and a super hard charging Brian Hludzinski. They started to put some time into me straight away and I was worried that I might be on a bad day. But as we worked our way into the course I started to close back up, even more so as we got into the few technical spots.
I was blown away by how heavy the course was riding. We were all pedaling sooo hard but going so slow. Just look at my Strava to see what I'm talking about. By the time we got through pit 2 I'd closed the gap to Brian and passed him through the barriers. A minute later I was on the run-up side by side with Mike. The three of us joined up through the end of the first lap and I decided I better try to distance myself to guarantee an either 1st or 2nd place finish for a front row start in the final. I squeezed by Mike and focused on finding a fast line that apparently didn't exist. I finally opened up a 5 second gap on Mike through the second technical section and felt a bit more at ease as Brian was even further back. I almost eased up too much as I had to put in one last little dig before the finish where Mike and Brian came through just one second behind.
I owe a ton of thanks to Tom Price for one, being in the pit, and two, cleaning up my bike after the race. His final is tomorrow so it's all hands on deck for his 9:45 start time. Gold-Silver-Bronze is on the line, time to go to work.