This race was full of lessons. I started near the back as has been habit for me. Lesson one- maybe it's not the place to start in all races. I got stuck in a long line along Archies and kept seeing the lead pack get further away.
Starting slower did give me a chance to not blow out on the first lap and I thought I was holding my own or even gaining on some of the middle pack. Todd and Rich were just in front of me for most of the first lap climb but I lost where they were for the down hill. I was pleasantly surprised to see them again going up the road to begin the second lap but did not have enough gas to catch them. I thought I even saw a glimpse of Jack D which ment I was not TOO far off the front pack. Lesson 2- It's good to keep an eye on where your competition is.
Lesson 3- Don't get lulled to sloppiness. As I was finishing the climb along Archies I found myself alone in that section and lost my concentration and took a turn too wide and slide off the edge. It was enough to take the gas out of me for a good half lap and I lost my tool pack (easily $50 value). Lesson 4- Secure your shit better!
That's also where Fred P and another rider passed me and took another notch out of my drive.
Lesson 5- Don't give up. I kept going and repassed one of them on the down hill. Then I hit the road again and wouldn't you know it there was Fred! I think this was his first race of the year and likely was not in last years form. But better yet there was Rich C up ahead of him! And I was closing the gap! I finally passed him at the top of the road. He was on my tail the rest of the race which was pretty fun. Passing him had given me a new jump start and I was feeling pretty strong.
Lesson 6- Don't underestimate your oponent. I felt I had control of that whole lap just ahead of Rich but not really holding him up. My strategy was to ride strong but not make any mistakes on the downhill. Since I had caught him on the road climb I felt I could easily stay ahead of him to the finish. I hit the road locked the front shock, stood up and headed up. I then turned around to see where he was. He wasn't as far back as I expected. Crap I was going to have to work for this. We got around the turn to where we could see the finish. I turned and saw him closing the gap! It was time to stand and pound it!
Lesson 7- Practice sprinting more. Out of all my races I had never had to have a sprint finish! But here it was and I began to pound it. My legs were burning! My lungs didn't seem to work! I was 4 feet from the finish and I could see his front tires come up to my handle bar and then I saw it move up and up and up just past my front tire! He wanted it more than I. He beat me by a foot. As we pulled up he made the comment that that was a lot of work for 7th and 8th. It sure was but that was one of the funnest races I've had!
Over all my time was about a minute faster than last years when I got fifth and the leader (Chris Bingham both years) was 5 minutes away rather than the 6 minutes last year.
The Arantix II felt good. There was less chatter of components and the cornering was much tighter.
Dot took a respectable 5th again.
Jonny took 4th.