The conditions were what I was hoping for, but sometimes you wish and wish, then you get and get. It was too muddy. At least for a heavy guy. But it was the hand that everyone was dealt. So it was our turn. Masters 35+ looking around, there were some new faces. Title sniping! But it was to be expected. It really didn't matter to me at that point. Because I only had 2 things to worry about Try to beat Simon and Dan Bannink. From the start, I let a few guys go. Pete Thompson, Adam Naish and a few others. I wanted to race smart. I was in a good spot, and as soon as we hit the slippy down hills, I was starting to pass guys left and right. I was now sitting near 3-4th, and growing a gap. But the course was zapping my power. Still fighting, and holding my own. Andrew Weir came by and I pushed on. I was still in the top 3 hunt for states. Half way through the race, I was still feeling good and looking for opportunity to bridge the gap back to Andy who I could still see just ahead. And then it happened... In the off camber section of the course, my chain fell off the cassette on the inside and got stuck in the spokes. I was forced off the bike, and had to yank it out by hand. During this time at least 5 guys passed me. I was pissed, but did not panic. I jumped on the bike and 50 ft later, it happened again. I finally got it back on again and was riding. as soon as I hit the next technical section, I caught all the guys that just passed me except for Todd Frerichs. Todd slowly inched his way away from me for the rest of the race. I tried to burn the rest of my matches to make contact, but they were gone from the attacks after the mechanical. Then Jarod caught and passed me, but I was able to make one more move to pass him again. It didn't last. He passed me again. Final final nail in the coffin was when Dan came around me riding the strongest race he had all year. I new this was the final spot on the podium for the Masters 35-39 state championship. And my last chance of seeing a top 5 for the race.
I was disappointed, but realized that a lot of things were out of my control. More importantly, I learned a ton about training and realizing when your body has told you its enough. I had a great run for the entire season, and I can't hang my head on 1 race in which I didn't get the result I was looking for. As my good friend Brad Lako told me today... It's just fuel for the fire.
Overall for the points series I took 3rd. It was unbelievable how tight the series was for the entire season. My hats off to all the guys I raced against in Masters. It will be a season I will never forget.
Congrats to all the state champ podiums (some of my favorites - Simon, Jarod, Todd F, Sven, Kelly, Jeff W, Wiz, Jim G, JB, Andrea, DC, Keith, Andy, Pete, Marc D, Rich S.). And thanks to everyone for their support, encouragement and cheering this year! You are all the best!