ARANTIX MILES TO DATE 1300 AND GOING STRONG! WOW, What a climbing machine!
Finally, on the final ICUP race it all came together!
(WARNING: this is a bit long since I'm so excited about the finish so if you want, fast forward to the last paragraph)
I was a bit nervous at the start since I wasn't sure I was fully recovered from the RANATAD but I was optimistic since it was a course I had pre-ridden several times and knew well. We started off pretty slow, surprisingly, but I took my usual place towards the end of the pack. I kept thinking, however, that something was wrong since I wasn't out of breath as usual. I inched up to 4th behind Darren but on the first short climb he was going way too slow and I passed him there. So Fred Porter was next in second and right ahead of me. Well, I thought if I stay with him I am way ahead of my usual spot in the races this year. By the time we got the Lilly lake road crossing about 20 minutes into the race I was bored and antsy. I kept telling myself to take it easy since I usually have burned out in the second laps and would likely do it again. NOPE. I couldn't do it. I had to pass him. Part of the reason I rationed for passing him was in fairness to him he hadn't raced this course before so I was hopefull he might be more tentative on the downhills which is where he usually kicks my butt. So I passed him and was feeling pretty excited being in second. So much so that I looked down at my HR monitor and I was tachin away at 174! I couldn't sustain that for another 1.5 hours! I made myself calm down and try to relax. It started to work and by then we hit the long road climb and I had to bring the HR back above 170 for the climb.
Well this is where the ARANTIX gave me the edge. I locked her out and started to climb. I was cruising in my middle ring and middle cassette. I passed several racers in the categories ahead of us like they were standing still! I crested the road and slowed to catch my breath for the powder climb. I hate this part more than any other in the whole race series! I was surprised how much farther I got than usual before I had to touch down and walk a few feet before completing it. As I reached the top I looked back and saw no sign of Fred. Cool! I head across the Wolverine ridge trail and down to the Lilly Lake turnoff. I was really nervous about burning out so I kept trying to take breaks but then got nervous Fred would catch up on the down hills so I took off again. So I kept playing this scared rabbit game in my head since I did not see the #1 guy ahead and did not see the #3 guy behind.
I was into the second lap and heading up the road climb again when I looked back and THERE WAS FRED 200 YARDS BEHIND! Yikes! If I didn't squeel outloud I sure did inside. I took off and gave it my all. No more slowing for rests, no more watching my HR monitor, at that point it was all or nothing. Well, the rest of the climb went well and I didn't see him again until we hit the last 3 miles or so when I got to the top of Bear Claw. I kind of slowed there on purpose to make sure the other racers were turning also. For some reason I had it in my head that last year we had done 2 1/2 laps and maybe heard it wrong at the start of the race that we were doing only 2. Lack of oxygen to the brain seems to do that towards the end of these races. We were about 2 hours in. Well they made the turn and I new I only had a few mostly downhill miles left. I figured he was only about 20 seconds behind me. I was SCARED! I new the course and gave it all I had! No more holding back and no more looking back I told myself. Well I didn't hold back but I have to admit I looked back plenty of times. I never did see him again.
I came in feeling strong in 2:20. 40 seconds ahead of Fred and 40 seconds behind Bob Saffell. I've never been even remotely that close to Bob and do wonder if I wasn't so worried about Fred whether I might have at least pushed Bob some at the front. Well I never expected 4th that race, let alone 2nd! I was stoked! I beat my time from last year by 8 minutes where I had taken 3rd then. FINALLY!
Here's some more of the great weekend:
Dot raced in her first Sport race. She came in 4th! And that's despite a crash and flat tire. It was a good finish leaving her feeling like she was close but wanting to prove she could do better. She still had enough points in 35+ to take first overall.
Keith had a rough spill and sprained his AC joint which dropped him to 12th and he missed 3rd overall by 3 points. OUCH! Talk about having salt rubbed into his wounds. Sorry, about that Keith. You earned better than that. As you can see he wasn't a happy camper at the awards banquet. Although, he did win some awesome fireworks (which my boys coveted all night) for the best spill of the race. (I'm not sure what Jared's problem was.)
Several members of the team stayed at the cabin friday night before the race and more came for showers afterwards. We had a great time there with them team!We came back to the cabin for the night before heading home and the boys were let loose in the newly formed puddles. They say that was the best part of the weekend. Jonny took 4th missing out by a few seconds for third! Joey rode great ending 4th from last in a very tough 9 and under class.