Today was the ride I had always dreamed about, the ride where all the training miles pay off. Today was my first win. Before this race I had a season of leisurely riding and three races under my belt, a 15th at big valley (mechanical), 4th at Medina TT's and 17th at Ray's XC TT. Not the best record but you have to start somewhere. The Mohican Wilderness OMBC race had been on my radar for a while, I figured it would suit my style, having plenty of climbing involved. Climbing has always been where I've picked up time. Being lighter and all the hill climbs I do, I'm able to get up the hills fast, in fact, at the Big Valley race before my mechanical I had picked off 4 places on a single climb. With that figured in I thought I could pick up some spots going uphill.
The day of the race came and climbing became a moot point. Forty five minutes before race start a torrential downpour came and left the course slippery and muddy. Very little actual climbing could be done in these wet and very slick conditions. So my goal was to get to the head of the pack off the front and hang on as long as I could. At the start I rocketed off the front with a good 100 meter gap between the Field and I. As we got on the trail the conditions became apparent, it was going to be muddy the entire time. I kept the lead in my class for the first mile or so with another rider slowly gaining on my tail. The hill became treacherous and the almost the entire mile had to be walked because of the slickness of the trail. This is where I lost some positions as I cramped from running up the hills, so now I will add some running to my workout routines every once in a while.
At the top of the hill, I was able to get back on my bike and start picking off people again. I was able to get past everyone and was back in the lead, but I wasn't sure if someone had gotten ahead of me. Heading onto the gravel road one rider was gaining on me again and by the time we hit the singletrack again he was right on my wheel. We traded places for the next mile or so neck and neck we eventually caught up to one of the sport class riders. Going around a tight, steep switchback the sport rider fell and I made a daring move around him. This gave me back my gap and from there on out I stayed off the front. For the rest of the 4-5 miles I sped through twisty roller coaster single track coming upon two more sport riders, the last rider told me I was the first novice to go through and that gave me the boost to pedal harder. The trail dumped me out at the beginning and I started sprinting towards the line. Halfway there I looked back and saw no riders and it was at that point I know I had finally done what I had dreamed about all winter and spent hours training, money to upgrade the bike, and practicing my skills was finally coming to fruition. I crossed the line, mud covered, wet, cold and tired but it didn't matter because this is what I love.
Thanks to Camba, Bike Authority, Crank Brothers, Rudy Project and Kenda for making this possible.
On a side note it was a good day to be my friend as Johnny P Finished first in Sport senior class and Sarah Harper finished 1st in her division in her 5k today! Congrats to you guys.