This was another summer training race, which happened to be the series finale, at Country Park on the Copperhead trail in Greensboro. I left work about 15mins early to help avoid some of the evening traffic, and I was able to get home, change, and arrive at the venue with about 20mins to get ready. Well, 10mins after finding the nearest crapper! LOL After takin care of business I had to swap out my gearing from Fontana for a bigger gear, 34/17.
At the start line it was clear it would be fun with a few good riders comin out for the ride! As we took off down the road I quickly sat-in behind the leader in 2nd position. The legs were already tingling so my plan was to hold this spot while waiting for them to catch-up with the race pace and smooth out. As the road pitched up prior to the course turning off into the woods, a couple riders came by. As the trail turned I jumped the ditch and tree roots to re-take my 2nd position behind the leader. This is where it got funny, as I was yelled at from behind by a certain rider "Come-on Bart! You know you can't hang with him!" I didn't even respond, as it was all I could do to keep from laughing! I've beaten this rider, and all others head-to-head on my SS while they were on their gears in REAL races! But hey, maybe that "rider" knew I had not touched my bike for 10 days, 4 of which I was on the beach drinking liquor and havin fun!?!? LOL!!! It didn't matter to me, as I was just out there to have fun and get my body back to racing to prep for this weekend! Also, unlike that "rider" I don't just show up for races I think I can win, or even worry about having what others call a disadvantage of racing a SS in a geared/open class! You can't expect to get better or become the best if you don't challenge yourself! Just sayin'... ;)
Anyhow, as we raced on it was about at the 1/2 lap mark when he finally came around moving me back to 3rd, which I was not going to challenge, as per my note above, my legs/body were obviously still in shock due to the last week and a half of havin fun off of the bike! By the end of lap2 I had dropped all the way back to 9th with 10th breathin on my back! Then as lap 3 began my legs finally started to come around, literally! I continued to focus on not free-wheeling at all keeping a constant pedal stroke to make up as much time as possible. By the 1/2 lap to go point I was finally pulling back a rider. However, I still had 10th pressin to pass, which I ignored while holding my pace and making myself big which worked, as he attempted to pass but couldn't get enough speed to do so! As we entered a switchback section I was finally on 8th's wheel puttin on hard pressure nearly rubbin tires several times. I was startin to feel the hurt and kept from yellin at 8th to get off the brakes as I thought he was holding me back due to havin a teammate just ahead in 7th. Numerous times he kept yelling at him that he had to "GO!" In the last single track section I was very nervous, as I continued to look for a pass but couldn't get the bike up to speed enough on 2 climbs to make it so I had to sit-in. All I had left was the final descent. This descent drops down an area riddled with wash-out and roots in the center section and trees and easy lines to the sides. I was hopin they 2 riders would take the longer left "safe" line so I could take my line straight down the middle jumping over all the nasty stuff that no one else was riding to take the lead....Crap! They both took the right line! I risked it all and pressed hard into my center line and once again cleared the obstacles, but all I was able to do was come out onto their wheels. As we hit the pavement, which had a slight descent to the finish, I chose not to give up, it's just not in me! As one of the riders went wide right I came up along side of him and got on his teammate's wheel. I was now spinning at a ridiculous cadence (~130rpm?!). THen with about 50yds to go I saw him droppin his gears and I started to sprint, but I couldn't stand up! If I had I probably would've gone straight forward over the handlebars! As I spun I glanced right to see rider 2 falling off the pace, then just 25yds to go I saw rider 1 sit-up conceding his 7th place finish to me...WOW!!! I couldn't believe I pulled it off!!! I was SPENT!!! What a way to wake up the body for this weekend's fun! Yup, I have at least 1 more race as of now. I will be racing Sunday back in Woolwine, VA at the 6hrs of Shiner's Revenge, on the SS of course! See you all there!!! ;)