Wayback 9/21/2008 - Rumble in the Jungle
I went into this race with no expectations. It is what it is, I am what I am, and all that. Absolutely zero pre-race jitters. The game plan was to go out and enjoy the course and but in a steady but solid effort. Off the start, I jumped out as normal but not as hard. Still, nobody else came off the line. I wanted a fair position but *not* the hole shot. But nobody else wanted it so screw it, I'll jump out. So I went into it in 2nd. It's odd that my class, for all the speed some of these guys have, start so slowly.
Soon I was passed by 3 of the guys I know from other races, all of them still battling for the series. Up and down the water tower hill then into the fence area. Now I understand why people were commenting on this area. Last year it was not even a half mile and this year it must be triple that. The first lap was a little sketchy with riders, and I didn't have my groove on, so that was a bit slow and I was passed by maybe 2 other guys when I clipped a tree - 1 of about 20 trees I would clip yesterday. After that you get to the switchbacks and I kept my pace, just slowly creeping up on people. Just like last year, passing was a non-issue.
First pass of Warthog was uneventful, just kept my head into it and kept a pace. Out in the lot Ben was there encouraging me. The guy who had gotten the hole shot was on my wheel. More pavement then the rocks, Vreeland yells "NORM!" Which prompts a conversation from some guy Chris knows, Mike maybe? May very well be the mfissel guy who replied to me on the economy thread last night.
Well on the pavement there Hole Shot passes me, Mike passes me, black jersey (Kirt's class) passes me. But we're not at the hill yet. So we hit the hill, and I and my 190 pounds catch those 3 guys just as we take the right after pavement. Then a Bulldog guy, then a few other guys I don't know. What's the world coming to when I pass guys on the climbs? With the exception of Black Jersey I would never see any of those guys again.
The second lap through the sketchy stuff was much better. Still plenty of trees to clip but I didn't clip out at all this time. Just kept my pace and tried not to do anything stupid. Out to the end, then up the switchbacks slow and steady. On the switchbacks I see Black Jersey again and Kirt behind him. I know they're in the same class so I'm keeping it steady but trying to hold off Black Jersey from passing to give Kirt the opportunity to catch us. We get to the pavement together and I just keep going, kinda surprised neither pass me.
We enter Warthog and Kirt says something to the effect of pulling him through this. So I guess Black Jersey is fading at this point. We talk a bit, then Kirt says he crashed 3 times today.
"I haven't crashed yet," I proclaim like a moron.
All of 3 seconds later I hit one of the logs and OTB we go.
"I crashed once," I say, under the bike.
Kirt asks if I'm ok and he goes on, Black Jersey behind him. I get up and try to tag along but they're too far out ahead so I just try and pace myself out. For the rest of the trail to the end, I just enjoyed myself and at point found myself just having more fun in a race than I've ever had. Nobody in my class ahead, nobody chasing me, so I just do my thing. I pass a few people but for the most part it's desolate out there.
Eventually TJ catches me, I had no idea he was behind but apparently he flatted. We talk out the last half mile of the course. Nobody in the lot to chase. Nobody chasing us. We just roll in.
Overall 6th place, 6 minutes out of 5th. So that lead pack was way off the front. All in all thrilled with my race, the course, and the day.