I wanted to win this race. I hoped it would be hard and that the course would be a good combination of fitness, skill, and strategy. I guess there are some things you can control and others you can't...fitness was there, I've been practicing the dirt biking 2-3x per week and hitting the road for some speed worshipping. After crashing at Greensfelder, I've been seriously reminded how important it is too either:
A.) SLOW THE HELL DOWN when you're redlined on singletrack and you're coming to a technical/loose turn, or
B.) be like Eric Pirtle and virtually never be redlined or always able to floss the trail and remain upright.
I was actually hoping E.P. and a few other strong dirt bikers from across the show-me state would show-up. But, the race was a little bit of a trek since it was ~4hrs from STL, 2 from Columbia, and 1-2 from Springfield and KC.
J.P. Brocket and family (his daughter is crazy fast!), Travis, and Caleb from Momentum racing were some of the guys I knew were fast standing at the start, but everyone else was a big question mark.
The course was pretty awesome. I'd call it a state-championship-worthy course. Moderately technical because of abundant sharp rocks, some dips, and only a few spots too really attack. Mac and the folks down in Warsaw are really doing some great things for mountain biking and if you ever get the chance, definitely check out their next race.
The family and I drove out saturday morning too camp at Truman lake, check out the course, and hangout in Warsaw. I don't know how old I was when I first started camping or sleeping on sail boats, but outdoor-sailing-muddigging-fishing-shooting guns-bow&arrows-threewheelers and other proper-childhood activities always allowed a nice balance growing up in urban St Louis. But i definitely remember when I started mountain biking: 7th grade (1992 or 93) @ Chubb trail on a rigid yellow/green Trek 800 purchased from Touring cyclist. 2 summers later my mom and I took a trip to Vermont just to go mountain biking at Mt Snow and Mt Stowe. It was pretty awesome and Maggie and I are committed to keeping some 'country' in our little girl. So, we took her camping for the first time. She slept outside for the first time, fed fish, dug holes, and steered our car while sitting on my lap on a dirt road. She's well on the way.
Back to the race. At the start, there was flat double track lead out too start the race. Caleb was going pretty good off the line and I jumped on his wheel. I knew he had also pre-rode the course and that he's young and fast, so I was psyched too follow at first. We split-up the field pretty quick. J.P flatted early leaving Travis, Caleb, me, and a few others. There was a little kicker of a climb at 3.5 miles into the course. I distinctly remember taking note of it as a good place too attack while pre-riding...and luckily Caleb must have felt the same way because at the top we both kept on the gas and next thing we knew the two of us had a little gap on Travis and everyone else. I went to the front and kept things pretty steady. We'd be doing 3 laps and the day was in the 90's, so hydration, salt, and good pacing were going to be key. But I also wanted to take advantage of the little gap on Travis so coming through the start/finish at the beginning of lap 2, I went pretty hard. Next thing I knew I was by myself and super focused on ever little turn and rock ahead of me. The next 2 laps were fun and just on the verge of beginning to hurt without ever really going over the top. I never saw anyone again so didn't know what was happening behind me. But after finishing, I found out that both Caleb and Travis had flatted, so there was a pretty big gap between me and 2nd after the race.
I just have one picture at the moment, and it is a podium shot where I'm inadvertently giving the team seagal salute while my medal is hanging off my finger, so I don't think I'll post it.
A huge thanks to my awesome wife Maggie for putting up with my competitive athletic pursuits! There's only one like you, ain't no way they could have made two.
And also a big shout out to Walt's bike shop...thank you guys so much for your support!
Oh yeah-almost forgot...we ate dinner saturday night in downtown Warsaw at this really cool restaurant. We ordered sandwiches, salads, and dessert, then after eating the waitress came up and said, "did anyone tell you that we're not charging for any of our food today?" We thought she was kidding, but she wasn't. ..free dinner because they aren't normally open on saturdays and opened up for a festival happening in town and wanted to do some good for the people coming to visit Warsaw! WOW!