So I guess it was finally going to be my day to see where my training has taken me. And what better way to do it in my backyard, and arguably the toughest race course on the Tailwind USAC State Championship circuit. I was a little nerved up knowing we would have a lot of folks watching and cheering around every corner (Ruby is very spectator friendly!!). In addition, I was not feeling 100% but felt like I would be able to give my best effort. I lined up with my heart pounding and just tried to focus. The goal at the start of Ruby is to be in at least the first 5 places going into the single track. So the whistle blew and we sprinted down the 500 meter gravel road. Instantly my heart pegged and I hit my first goal of the day. I was sitting in about 5th position into the single track. I tried to calm down but the lead group put the hammer down and never let off. I fell off the back a little, but maintained my pace. I was actually starting to put in a good size gap between the folks behind me. Around the 2nd lap my team mate Todd Powers fell of the lead group and joined me for the 2nd and 3rd lap. Todd helped motivating me by yelling insults about my riding style and proving to me that my handling is terrible by catching me after all the technical single track parts. You see, Todd has trained this year by doing 12 oz curls with rice beer and has a sprained ankle. But you get him at Ruby in a race and he is like a dog trying to hump your leg -- He don't stop! God Bless you Brother, and Thanks! So about half way through the 3rd lap, My good ol' friend Adam Naish Caught me. Dammit, he has my number this year. I rode with Adam for about another 3/4 of a lap and he finally pulled away. He was much stronger than me and way more smooth than I was through all the turns. However, this was enough for me to pull ahead of Todd and keep the gap. On the beginning of the 4th lap, I could feel the cramps beginning in tops of my quads. It was manageable, But I ran up some of the climbs like Lance and the top of The Wall to try and control them. It was enough to keep my distance from the rest of the field and hang onto 5th!
This is great for my confidence and with 60 miles of the Stony Marathon in a few weeks. I need all the confidence I can get. My lap times were strong and consistent. 27, 27, 28 and 29. The cramps took a little wind out of my sail on the last lap. But that was a result of the other weakness I still need to improve upon this year -- Climbing power. I just finished up my peak for training, and am now into my race period for a few weeks. Time to see what I can do in my "A" race at Stony.
I have a long shout out list so here we go --
Brian Crook 2nd - place, slow down so I can catch you!
Todd Powers 6th - Even though your all beat up and out of shape you still haul the mail!
Todd Shorkey 5th - First ever podium! And did it with a duct-taped spoke and taco-ed wheel! Way to stick it out!
Paul Wood 3rd - Best ever Expert podium finish!
Tom Payn 1st - Great job!
Ben Miller 2nd on the SS! Way to haul it Ben!
Todd Lawrence 2nd -- In your first ever MTB Race!
Masher -- Finished -- First MTB race in 20 yrs! We still love you mike.
(Thanks again Steve Balogh for use of the picture, and great job in the race!)