I felt good going into this race as I pre-rode the course with Chris and Greg the weekend before and had some strong feeling rides the week of the race. This race has a long straight before the first climb that allows people to sprint longer than normal. I went out at a good clip but 2 guys were ahead of me going into the first little climb. One guy was fast, so I didn’t want to let him get away, the other guy held me up on the climb as he was spent from the sprint. I was a little frustrated as this section is tight and doesn’t allow for passing. Thankfully the first two guys didn’t take the tight tree path allowing me to pass the guy in front of me and get right on the wheel of the lead guy. We rode like this for a while until we ran into traffic and were held up, almost wrecking me! That let a couple of guys around putting me 4th wheel. I worked hard to catch back up getting derailed on both big climbs on the first part of the course causing me to hike a bike on hills that I would otherwise ride. At this point I was pretty discouraged as the guys in front of me were all good riders and I would have to almost ride a perfect race to catch them, let along pass them! As we were finishing up the back half of the course I could just start to see the 3rd place guy, knowing that he is not fast on the flats I pushed hard through the start finish line to get around him before entering the single track for the second lap. I then slowly started to reel in the second place guy… during this process we were constantly separated during passing. I asked him where Jason (The other rider) was and he said he had flatted, I then knew that this was going to be a tough battle. I finally passed him at the water crossing calling on my cyclocross experience to dismount faster than he did getting around him at the waters edge, but we still had a lap and half to go. He then rode my wheel the whole race. I tried to gap him a couple times, but he held on. I was thinking that he was going to sprint around me at the finishing straight… Lucky for me, I finally put a gap on him at the downhill switch backs, but I could still see he wasn’t that far behind. I pushed to the finish running the water as fast as I could. I tucked in an aero position and pushed on the straight waiting for the sprint, but when I looked back he wasn’t there. I rolled through with my first XC race victory!!
I want to thank the Elite/Expert guys for hanging around to cheer us on… it meant a lot!!