After the 6th lap I got word that 2nd place was 9 minutes behind and he seemed to be taking longer in the pit areas. This bolstered my confidence but I knew it wasn't in the bag yet. My cassette was skipping even more making me walk up hills I still could have ridden. With all of the skipping I felt for sure that the chain would break. I even had to borrow a pump to pump up my shock.
Night came and I got the lights installed in record time with my team and I was off 30 minutes ahead of second. I was breathing easier but finally getting tired and was wondering if I could keep going without stopping to rest like my competition was. I was cramping but not too bad likely due to the Carborocket I was regularly drinking. On the good side my stomach was feeling good and Mom had given me a bite of wonderfully tasting BBQ'd pork before I headed out. I thought of that the rest of that 8th lap and couldn't wait to get some more.
Coming in on the 9th lap I was 42 minutes ahead and barring mechanicals I was finally starting to relax a little. I decided to nurse the bike and chain to avoid a breakdown and slowed down. This also helped me avoid a full rest stop. So I kept going. This was the lap I was hoping the competition would stop on so I wouldn't have to do another lap. It was around 10pm when I rolled in still with plenty of time to do another. I wasn't prepared mentally to do more than 8 laps since last year's winning # of laps was 6! Jessy and mom were there to feed me and report that 2nd place had gone out about 10 minutes before I came in. I had to do another lap but as long as I finished I would win. Well that was the longest lap of my life!
My legs were shot. They even gave up cramping! They just gave up. I was spinning so slow that at least 3 times I would hit a small root, come to an immediate stop and tip over before I could even clip out. I never really got hurt since I was going so slow but it still stung. I felt like It was my first MTB race. I got in at 11 minutes after midnight. Jessy who was the core to the team and gave up her study time to help me was there with Mom. It was really cool to have the extended family experience the crazy racing stuff that has consumed my last few years and maybe have a better appreciation of why I do it. This has been the most satisfying race I've had. The funny thing is, is that I don't even have an award or medal to remember this by. They ONLY handed out $100 in cash! (which normally I would have preferred- go figure).
HAPPY 70TH DAD!