We were dealt our first blow of the weekend when Tom pulled (tore) his calf on the staircase during morning pre-rides. He was scheduled to race just three hours later and he could barely put weight on it. The decision was made, racing was not an option. The following day, Friday, was spent in support of Trek CXC super junior Ellen Noble. As she rolled across the line to win her first National Championship we all but had tears in our eyes as she talked about losing her father early in the year and how hard she'd worked to keep going with cycling. It was an amazing thing to be a part of.
Saturday was Masters day and I was first up with a 9:30 start time. Conditions had been changing by the hour for the previous 2 days. Our 40-44 race would be a tractor pull with deep mud throughout the course. I got my front row call-up after scoring a 5th place finish the previous year. Jay was just behind in the second row, we were set to go. At the whistle, I missed my pedal and quickly found myself fighting for 9th or 10th spot. It was short lived however as a knifed my way through the riders in front of me through the first muddy stretch, working my way up to third wheel by the first corner. By the time we'd reached Pit 1 we'd established our front group of five with me sitting 4th wheel. Webber was already pulling away as he set a blistering pace. By the end of lap one I had worked my way past Brandon Dwight and had my sights set on second place ride Mike Yozell. It took me most of the lap to pull him back but my fast lap had begun to pull back Webber as well. As we rolled through the start/finish with two laps to go I'd cut Webber's 20 second lead in half.
That was when things fell apart a bit. I clipped a stake on the steepest part of the climb and made two other bobbles. By the end of the lap, Pete was 30 some seconds clear and all but out of reach. A lap later I would roll across the finish line second best in the nation.
The result was better than expected but frustrating none the less as I felt I had championship winning form before getting sick. Jay would come across the line with a very respectable 21st, while later in the day Matt would finish 22nd in the 35-39 and Lucas 18th in the 30-34. Excellent results for our little state.
All eyes now turn to Louisville and the 2013 Masters World Championships. If form and history are any indication I should have a very serious shot at bringing home a rainbow jersey. Now to put in the final days of hard work to make it pay off.
|Full kit always looks better on the podium|
l-r, Ward Baker, Yours Truly, Pete Webber, Mike Yozell, Brandon Dwight