The course did not look that difficult. But was very thought out and technical. Just not a lot of hills. But what it lacked in elevation, it made up for in MUD! All the rain kept the course very slow, slick, sticky, and down right muddy all weekend. In fact this was the muddiest conditions I have ever raced in. So it was a huge learning experience for me.
Day 1 -- I was nervous as hell! I was front row with 109 racers breathing down my neck! Thank God that JB Hancock was right next to me on the line. talking to him and the Wiz right before the start really helped me calm down and focus on having fun. The whistle blew, and instantly I could not clip into my pedals. I went from 1st row to about 6 row in a few pedal strokes. Into the course the pace was fast and elbow to elbow. the skinny guys passed me like I was standing still. I was able to grab onto the back of Mark Caffyn's wheel and hang on. Trying to pedal through the mud, made my quads burn the whole time and my heart rate never came down until the 3rd lap. Mark pulled away a few times, but I was able to reel him back in and finally make a move to go around him and stay away. I finished 47th. I was very happy with this result, considering the size of the field and the level of competition!
Day 2 -- Feeling better and ready to do battle. JB and I got the same start position on the line. The whistle blew and this time I got my pedals right. About 4 strokes in I was at the front of the feild and accelerating! JB was the only one that was able to come around me in the field of 100 and he was off the front already putting in a gap. I was still in 2nd going into the barriers, but I could fell the pressure coming from behind. I held a top 7-10th position for about a 1/2 lap, until the skinny guys started passing me again. I tried to power through the mud the entire race to kepp as many folks from passing me as possible. I felt better than the day before and thought I had a better race. I improved to 45th. Not exactly where I thought I would end up. But still happy with the result and the overall experience of the weekend.
Vets Park is this weekend. And I am in another peak. I am hoping that my USGP experience makes me stronger and better for the rest of the season. Then it will be off to the ICEMAN the following weekend!
Tough luck for JB. He had a person step into his rear wheel on day 1 and "my" tire came off of his rim on Day 2. Other wise, he looked rock solid.
Jeff and the Wiz looked great! Wiz scoring a W on day 2 and Jeff rocked 3rd both days
Curt rocked a 37th out of 110+ riders on day 1! Look for curt to sniff out the podium before the end of the year!