Commuting home Friday night I felt really good. For many weeks now I feel really tight and somewhat hindered by fatigue.
The coarse was really fun. It was at Indian Caverns on the northside of Columbus, kind of this campy field trip destination. There was a miniature pioneer village and part of the course crossed a creek on a small wooden bridge where a skeleton was in a rowboat!
It was an all around power course where you had to be able to power the flats as well as climb some hills, one being pretty steep. I'm still running a 42 chainring up front and my mud tires are on a wheelset with a 12-25 cassette — so some of the steep sections can really kick my butt. I tend to prefer to spin at a higher cadence and I don't feel like I have a lot of high end power. There was also a fun woody singletrack section with a tight bridge crossing.
I started out pretty good in the B race. I was about in 4th heading into the single track. Two rided bombed around me at the last second — some pretty badass aggressive riding that I really respected. Then halfway through the single track my back tire hit an unseen root and slid out. I lost four to five more places!
Over the next lap or so I clawed my way back up to a small pack of riders and was back into fourth place. I had to power through the flats and really push myself on the hill. I was within 15 - 20 seconds of the leading rider from Jeni's Ice Cream when suddenly a rider from B1 launched an attack. He gapped us quickly, maybe gaining 30 seconds.
I worked my way into second and was just barely hanging in there when we passed the leading rider — his pedal fell out! Through the next section I wanted to see if the other riders wanted to work together — but one guy was pretty vocal about not doing that. So I positioned myself to be the leading rider into the single track. I opened the gap as soon as we hit the faster sections and had a lap where I held a 20 second lead and tried to take a break preparing for the final laps.
Maybe I was relaxing too much, the second place rider launched this awesome attackon the hill section to bridge up to me. I could hear him breathing hard so I knew I decided to reopen my lead while he was still tired. I pulled away after the barriers and reopened my lead and just maintained it. On the last lap I nearly wrecked on the wooden bridge — I could have ruined my race and potentially have gotten injured!
At the end of the race I knew I was lucky, who knows if that B1 rider would have won without the pedal failure but he looked really strong.
My day wasn't over yet. I decided to race the A race too. I had given my all in the B race and I was really scared my legs would seize up but I still did it. I pretty much blew up halfway into the first lap and I raced alone for 99% of the race. Aside from getting some miles in my legs it proved to be a pretty bad idea. I had to learn somehow!
Also, I need to pick up a 38 or 39 before the end of the season, I think my legs will thank me for it!