Yup, I stayed in NC for the weekend to attend a race in Greensboro. I entered the SS class with the 2nd biggest gear, 2.13:1 (32/15). The guy with the biggest was Manny, a new acquaintance who is stationed at Fort Bragg as Army - Special Forces, he ran a 2.29:1 (32/14) and ended up 3rd.
Headline of the race was, Leader blows the race! The starter announced everything he could think to say on the start line…where to find the johns, where to find the medic, that you can eat or drink anywhere, blah, blah, blah, …finish is at yellow tent. Well I caught the last thing and upon gapping the guy on my wheel by about 50 yards approaching the start/finish area I saw the yellow tent and an opening in the fencing. I yelled and pointed, “Finish!?” To which I got no response so I took the exit….WRONG! DOH! There goes the guy around the bend to the correct finish! Oh well, 2nd for me, it was fun though, and the guy who won, Jason who was riding a 2.125:1 (34/16), was very cool about it being that I controlled the race and gapped him at the end only to miss the VERY POORLY marked finish!!! DOH!!! Karma I think, as I’ve never done that but have been guilty of heckling a few buddies about the same thing in the past! hahaha I over heard him telling others that it was a hollow victory and pointed to me while saying I was the best rider of the day. I ended up chatting with him for about an hour along with the others in the group while we waited for almost 2hrs for the results! Brought back a lot of memories of a particular Michigan race promoter in that situation! hahaha
Basically my strategy worked perfect, well obviously almost, in that I made sure to get myself in front to be the 1st in the woods to set the pace. I kept it easy as I had no idea what gear anyone was riding or how good they were or what my fitness comparison was. The 1st pic below was mid-way through lap1, with the 2nd being on the last big climb of lap2. At the transition area of lap 1 I allowed the rider to pass me and followed him around the open grass fields. Then just before entering the woods I easilly jumped back in front to do the pace setting. About 1/2 way through the 2nd lap I slowed a touch with hopes he'd jump in front so I could size him up. He did, but it didn't last as he took a wide detour around a log pile not wanting to go over it. It was just about 2 miles to go and he was back on my wheel. I'm thinking he was testing me at this point as he picked it up a lot and I hung like a monkey on his back. The course then shoots out onto a paved path for about 500yds then into a steep climb back into the woods before getting back on the path again. I gapped him good there then cruised on the path. As I looked back he was spinning like mad to catch me, and just as he did is when I attacked again to exit the path to the "wrong" finish spot...DOH!
So, now I have a $50 gift cert to the promoting bike shop in Greensboro…Anyone want it for $45? Let me know! The next possible race is Sept. 23 at Hobby Park in Winston-Salem. I will ride with these new comrades to check out the course, and maybe bump up my gearing a little to a 14 tooth cog. From what I hear it should be similar to PLRA and should be fun!