I love the trail at Addison Oaks and always like to do at least one race there. The weather was perfect, so I arrived early and watched the Expert/Elite race. Ron was tearing it up in Elite!! It was also good to see Herriman back racing.
A couple observations... the Elite field was small, but the 40-49 was 29 strong and the 50+ was 18 strong... Old fast guys coming out to play?! The 40-49 class had some of the fastest times in the expert classes. It would have been fun to mix it up in the Expert class, but I needed some time on the SS before heading to Crank the Shield the next weekend.
After warming up, I rolled up to the line to see that the front row was already packed. I found a wheel that I thought would be fast and waited. I was a bit nervous as I hadn't ever raced the SS in a XC venue and wasn't sure what to expect. I was questioning my ability to push a bigger gear and just hoping not to blow out my knees or quads before the finish!
The start was slower than anticipated and I made it to P4 before the first climb after brushing elbows with a few guys that didn't like being passed. The climb was manageable and once in the single track the pace seemed pretty slow. I tried to make a pass in an open area and a guy didn't like it and about put me off the trail, so I just tucked back in and waited. At the next opportunity I decided to pass the group (instead of just one guy), pushed the pace and ended up riding alone. At the end of the asphalt section, part of the group rolled up. This was a little disheartening, but it was what it was. I later found out that the guy that came in second wasn’t happy racing for second and ended up pulling the group up to me on the long 2-track section. I led going back into the single track and set a comfortably hard pace. The group was quickly slimmed down to me and just one other guy. We swapped pulls the rest of the race. He tried to drop me a few times, but I had decided to let it come down to a sprint. We had a lot of traffic on the last lap, but somehow managed to come through without incident.
On the last lap, I made sure I pulled the last single track section and put him in front of me on the sprint. and pulled around him by a half wheel at the line for the win. We were coming to the line with some sport guys and I was thinking we might crash, but somehow everyone came out unscathed!
Win or lose... it was one of the best races I have ever had.
Video of Finish (Thanks Alex!)