Since finishing well at the Stony TT and Maybury MMBA events, I saw an opportunity to win my class in both the MMBA and the Tailwind series. In order to do this, I needed to race the remaining 2 races in order to have the minimum 5 races required to be considered for the year end awards. I also know that in order for me to win the series, I would have to win one of the next 2 races. Being that it has already been a long season and CX is starting soon, my motivation to race more MTB races has declined. Knowing that I need to win one race, I focused my efforts on Addison Oaks as I consider this trail to be my home court. I took a week off the bike at the end of August to try and regroup and then hit it hard. The 2 weeks before the race, I had completed 7 near race pace laps and formulated a plan of attack for the race.
With CX coming up and Kinetic Systems putting on a Clinic, which happened to be the day before Addison Oaks, I headed over to work on my skillz (Which need a lot of work!). Knowing that I didn’t want to completely wear myself out, I didn’t participate in the mock race and just focused on the clinic portion. Needless to say, I rode too hard and climbed the orange-crush (http://cowbell.cxmagazine.com/video/orange-crush-flyover) a few too many times and I was beat! The next morning I felt flat and still had to clean the bike and load all my stuff into the car… I was less than motivated to race.
Once at the race, I watched the Expert and Elite guys go by a few times, picked up my registration pack and got ready to warm up. After riding around a while I really wasn’t feeling it, but knew that once the race started I would get into my zone. Not having raced too many MMBA races, I didn’t know a lot of faces at the starting line which made me nervous. Although one face was very familiar and that was my buddy Mark Bourgeau, who I knew would love to take the win and was more than capable. I rolled to the front right at the start and I could see people shuffling for position out of the corner of my eye. We hit the first hill and I attacked to try and drop as many people as possible right at the start. Things quieted down pretty quick behind me, but I could hear someone there and didn’t want to look. About a mile or 2 in we caught a large group of guys in the single track. I debated trying to pick them off one by one, but decided that would be too risky and waited for the 2 track. I picked some of them off on a short open section helping to put a gap between myself and the rest of the field, but was starting to worry that the slower pace was allowing them to bridge back up. It seemed like forever and I was almost taken down by a mishap, but the 2 track came and I hit the gas. At this point I figured out that the guy on my tail was Mark which made me a little nervous. I debated taking turns pulling, but I was gapping him on the flats making him work to keep up. As we rolled through the start/finish, I had a small gap and pushed the first uphill to try and open things up and get some more riders between us. At this point I was feeling good and having fun… until I heard someone yell at me and when I looked it was Mark again!! It was at a point where the trails loops back, so I didn’t really know how far back he was… but I wasn’t going to hang around to find out. At the start of the third lap I looked back and didn’t see him. I proceeded to work my way through the last lap and even caught my wife in the last couple of miles. I rolled across the finish line only 50sec ahead of Mark. In the end, even though I didn’t feel 100%, I still managed to win and had the second fastest sport time. Next XC race is Pando… I need to finish no more than 1 place behind the second place guy in order to win the series. Hopefully my last sport race will be a good one!