Yankee Springs TT
After finishing strong at the Barry Roubaix, I was excited to see how that would translate to my performance on the trails. The team went on a trip to Yankee a couple weeks before the race and outside of an early flat we had a good time and I put down a couple of respectable laps. I felt ready for the race, but didn’t have any expectations, as it always has a large turnout with a lot of fast locals. As we lined up I realized that I had a few carrots to chase (My teammate Scott Simpson and friend Dave Messing) and a fast guy (Gus Hemingway) lined up next to me. Dave left minutes ahead of me so it was more of a mental chase. I was a little nervous as 2 laps of Yankee can be tough. The start was fast… probably faster than I should have made it. I was out in front with Gus on my wheel for the first ½ mile or so, and then he went around me. I tried to stay with him, but his pace was too fast for me. I started to see Scott up ahead and was working hard to catch him, and then I saw Gus on the side of the trail. I found out later he broke his drivetrain and had to make it a SS. I caught Scott and he let me by and wished me luck. At this point I was grinding away on my own… I passed a few people and got passed a couple times. I then fell into a group of guys that were going at or slightly above my pace, so I pushed to stay on their wheel. We rode together for the rest of the first lap and most of the second lap. I was gapped a few times and would have to push to catch back up. We then caught a familiar rider in green, it was my buddy Dave. At this point I knew I must be doing pretty well as Dave is no slouch. Dave jumped into our group and we pushed towards the finish. One by one the group started to slow and I went around and hammered to the finish. To my surprise, I ended up in 4th place. I stood there thinking it was going to be a fun year of racing!
Fort Custer XC
Feeling good about my performance at Yankee Springs, I was excited to see how I would perform at Fort Custer. My son Nathan and I woke up early the morning of and head to the Fort. It was raining HARD on our drive to the race so much that it felt like driving on ice! The engine in my Fit would start to rev up while driving down the highway and it only has a 1.5L 4 cylinder engine!! I almost turned around and went home as to not get us killed driving to the race. Thankfully it cleared up before the start. I was little nervous about the mud, but figured it would be good bike handling practice. Last year I jumped the start and had to stop and then start again causing me to be at the back of the pack. This year I didn’t watch the clock, but listened to the starter, clipped in and was gone. I didn’t feel like I was hammering at the start, but didn’t seem to have anyone battling for the front. I lead for the first 3-4 miles and quickly found it was down to only 2 of us, Jeff Nixon and me. At the exit of grannies garden, the double drop offs caught me off guard and I ended up getting tossed. I quickly jumped back on my bike, but couldn’t catch Jeff. Shortly after Joe Thomas came storming (Yes Storming) by on the 2 track and I tried to hang on to his wheel, but couldn’t. The trail had some really slimy spots and the Raven I had on the back might as well been a slick. I did a lot of drifting; I was even complimented by a racer passing me as I was holding a 2 wheel drift while he went by on the inside! The race was also fun because I was able to ride with my friend Pete Favata for a while sliding around in the mud. I was passed by one guy at the start of the third lap, but didn’t realize he was in my class until later in the race. I realized it right at the end when I caught him and passed him just before the finish line taking 3rd place by 3 secs. I was happy with my finish and my lap times were consistent, I just need to figure out how to make up the 5 mins that the lead 2 guys put on me!