I got there an hour early and had enough time to do a complete lap of the single track. Immediatly I loved the trails. Fun downhills which all ended in a tight turn preceeded by either roots or rocks, so you could open up but you had to be sure to brake before you got to the bottom.
The race started with a Le mans style start. You set down your bikes and lined up, the gun sounded and you ran 100 yards around a sign and back to your bikes. This was meant as a way to spread out the field when you dove directly into the singletrack. Some races it did some races it ended up with everyone getting to their bikes at the same time. What this did for me was give me cramps. I would fight these the entire first lap, along with never being able to recover. I spent almost the entire first lap above 180 bpm. My legs felt fine but I coul never get my heart rate and breathing to calm down.
During the first lap I heard someone yell "Go Andrew! Your looking good!" or something along those lines. At this point I was suffering and didn't recognize the voice. I knew it wasn't a racer because it was loud and wasn't winded. I chalked it up to one of the family members of the CAMBA racing team. About another mile down the trail during a short steep climb where I'm putting all my effort into getting a good place I hear the voice again and it's closer. "Go Andrew, why so serious?" I look up and to my amazment it's Bob Myers. Our local Trek representative, friend of CAMBA and a riding buddy from last year. I hadn't seen him since Ray's in January for the Tri-Flow Time Trial. He had come out to take pictures of his Trek and Gary Fisher riders and took a couple shots of me.
The race was grueling with no time to recover, even the field sections had tire size dips that killed your speed and made it so you had to keep pushing. I average 174 bpm for the entire race. I completed the 10.6 mile course in an hour 13 (with a couple seconds from not stopping the garmin at the finish.) With an average speed of 8.7mph and 1,500 feet of climbing. The first lap myself and two riders traded the lead multiple times. Entering the single track I was placed third and feeling confident. I passed the second placer rider on the first uphill, and took first when the leader took a turn to fast and had to slow down. I passed him to the inside and he quickly grabbed my wheel. I lost the two places I had gained when my chain popped off the chainring right at the bottom of a hill. I lost a lot of time putting it back on and getting up to speed going up the hill. I regained 2nd before the end of the first lap (I think) and we swapped it back and forth once or twice more. The second half of the second lap I started to feel good again and there was a lot of climbing the second half, so I was able to really gap the other rider. I could see the other rider but didn't have enough time to reel him in. The last part of the course was a open field with a short gravel road section. I kept looking back and the third place rider was far back enough that I could sit up the last part and enjoy the finish. Overall A decent finish, and gives me 4 podiums this year, one short of the 5 I aimed for with a lot of racing yet to do.
Congrats to Dirk, Mike Fletcher, and Roger Sommers for winning their races. And big props to Johnny P who finished second with a broken handlebar. Truly epic!
Thanks to CAMBA, Bike Authority, Kenda, Crank Brothers, Rudy Project and Ritchey for helping me race.