Seamus may have one the race but Doug was the talk of the venue. He's riding this contraption to the races this year.
The start means so much at a cross country race. Click here to watch
I slam a GU gel at the line and go through my pre race check list. Seconds to go, and nerves were a little high for this one so maybe I was slightly grippy. I missed the pedal off the start and that means despite my best effort, I never made the lead group. At a race like Hop Brook Dam (Root66 #1) that means everything. The trails are fast (Schwable Racing Ralphs perfect today) and if you can't find a wheel it makes it a tough race. Definitely don't want to fall into 'no mans land' here. It's not that I'm saying I would have been able to stay there long but one of my goals for this race was to try to make the lead. Other than that I felt pretty good. After getting things sorted out in the first lap John Foley and I made up the group I'll call chase #2. John and I have been here before. Two years ago on this exact same course he got 5th and I pulled 6th (25sec back). This year we were five minutes faster and I was 15sec closer but he still managed to out kick me for 6th, I got 7th. What does this all mean? It means that EVERYONE is fit as shit right now. A mild winter will do that I guess. "I'm ahead of schedule but so is everyone else", was the topic of the day. Many people I talked to said "I had a great race and was still mid pack". Ha Ha!! Welcome to the big show.
With all the endurance stuff I'd been doing in the last few years I'd forgotten how fun it can be to go the max till the wheels fall off. I'm dedicated to XC this year and with the super light Tomac Carbide and the expertise of Bicycle Tech I'm more relaxed about the adventure.