Sunday, March 10, 2013
This is one of those races I enjoy and dread at the same time. Running the rigid fork here is brutal. The trail at Harris Lake has lots of roots and is tight and twisty. Just when you think you have some flow going you are battling roots and turns at the same time. The course was 7 miles and knowing you will be doing numerous laps is just as much mental as it is physical. The field was small with solo and duo teams. Once they gave the go I went hard to get into the woods as close to the front as possible. I ended up going into the woods 6th overall and 2nd in single speed category. About halfway through the first lap I made it past 2 racers and fell into a comfortable pace. I knew the 1st place single speeder was strong and was leading the race, so I knew pushing it wasn't going to help me at this point. More worried about possibly being caught by the other single speed guys or anyone else since I was close to the front of the field. I ended up getting passed on lap 7 by a guy who was flying down the trail, and come to find out he was on a duo team. As I started lap 8 one of the guys I know that was ahead of me was just sitting in the pits. I ended up passing the other 2 single speeders and put them a lap down. Not bad that only 1 duo team was ahead of me out of 11. I finished 9 laps in 5:48:01, 2nd in SS category and 4th overall.
This is one of my favorite races to date. It may not have any single track, but it is fast. With nearly 400 racers and only 24 of us being in the single speed mountain bike category I knew this would not be easy. I lined up somewhere close to the front to hopefully jump on with a fast group of geared riders I could jump on with for the flats and downhills. The first mile was a neutral roll out, but still a good place to weave through the traffic. I stuck to my plan and once we were let loose I jumped in a group of riders and we were off making up ground on a group ahead of us. We were within 100 yards of them when a rider went down going across a bridge, so we had to slow down to go around him. Just when we were making good time again we were held up at a road crossing for the ambulance to pass to pick up the injured rider. Once we started rolling again I jumped out front of the group and pulled away until we started downhill or long flats and they would pull back up to me. This went on for the majority of the race. I would catch up to small groups of 2-4 riders at a time when hitting the inclines and leaving them behind. Roughly 38 miles into the race me and 2 other racers came to an intersection and followed the sign straight instead of left. We came to another intersection about .4-.5 miles down the fire road, so I started asking riders coming up from our left what mileage they were at and they were only 35 miles into the race. We turned around and started pedaling as hard as we could go. I kept this crazy pace for the next 7-8 miles until the leg cramps started creeping up. I backed off the crazy spinning I was doing and just started dumping everything I had left in my last bottle and a GU. I was hoping to catch another single speeder, but it never happened. I ended up finishing 9th in the single speed mtn bike category in a time of 3:22:34.