Day 1 - It was cold. And windy. And then the mud came... Perfect! But I was a little worried about my fingers going numb and not being able to feel the shifters and brakes. I actually borrowed a pair of Specialized Radiant gloves from KLM owner Frank, and they were perfect!
I was finally ready to go, and shivering waiting for the whistle. It blew and we sprinted for the first sharp right hand turn. Instantly everyone was on the brakes, and the next thing I new I was buzzing all the mud off of Alex's tire. It felt like it was going on forever. All I could think was I was getting ready to wreck everyone! Luckily, this kind of stuff doesn't freak me out, and I kept it up. Close call, and I made sure I instantly apologized to everyone around. from there I settle right in. Ben Christan, Alex, Brain and Andy all had great starts and were a few seconds ahead of me. I bridge back to them by the time we made it to the sled hill climb on the 1st lap. I was feeling great. On the beginning of the 2nd lap, I could feel the guys were already feeling it from the effort. So I decided to roll the dice and test some legs. I sprinted out of the pack hard and down the paved starting straight. I eased up and took a peek. to my surprise no one was with me, and only Pete Thompson reacted and began to chase me. I instantly settled into my a nice hard tempo pace and drove hard lap after lap. I continued to grow the gap between Pete and myself a few seconds each lap, with the main focus of riding smooth. It was enough. I got another win!
Day 2 - All the same players were back for more! It was even colder but not as much wind. I had a much better and cleaner start. Sitting in the top 3 with JMACK and Pete. Pete was riding hard and JMACK was showing signs he could go at any time. Alex was riding better as well, and with the course being frozen solid vs muddy, it appeared that we would be racing closer throughout the day. 2 laps in we are still riding wheel to wheel. But there a some small signs on the climbs that the effort is slowly beginning to wear folks down. As we come down the paved starting straight, I decided to test the legs and drive the front. I put the pressure on and JMACK and Pete hang on. It's the 3rd lap now, and we are breaking the rest of the pack up and mixing in with elites. Alex flats before the sled hill. We get to the bottom, turn to start climbing and my chain is completely off! UGH! I don't panic and try to shift it back on. No luck! I try again. JMACK yells "get it back on!". I had to get off and put it on by hand. I lose between 15-20 seconds. Jarod and Pete are now gone, and the rest of the Masters 35+ have all came but came by me now as well. I run back up the hill and start my charge. I'm in about 7th place now! But I still didn't panic. Lots of time left. I pushed as hard as I could for the rest of the lap catching all but Pete and Jarod before the 4th lap. By now JMACK recognized this was a great chance to secure the lead. He was at least 30 seconds ahead of Pete now. I continued to work hard each lap and finally caught and passed Pete. JMACK was all that was left.
I knew this was going to be tough. When JMACK smells blood, there are few people that are as hard to beat as him. He will not give up that easy! Lap after lap I stayed consistent and took back 10 or so seconds each lap. Finally with 2 laps to go, I caught him. I sat in for about 1/2 lap to recover a bit, and then turned the screws. I could not shake him through any of the technical hair pin turns, or single track sections, so I relied on attacking at the sled hill and paved climb after. It worked I opened a small gap with 1 lap to go. I settled into a nice hard paced groove, but always made sure I knew where he was. Because after all, he is JMACK and the dude never gives up! But it was enough to hold him off... this time. I pulled off my first double win weekend ever!
Thanks to the KLM team for setting up base camp with a heated tent and offering support to everyone! Much appreciated.
Thanks again to Frank for the Gloves
Thanks Bob Bruce for use of the photos
Next stop Michigan CX State Championship!!!!