Over trained, if I am than I think I'm going to stay this way. I really didn't have much expectations for this race. Some clown scheduled a 5.5 hour ride the day before. What type of legs am I really going to have? Especially for the intensity of a 3 lap race.
Sitting in the starting grid I'm chatting it up with the boys saying how trashed my legs were. Honestly they did feel weak. During the warm up my Quads seem to have some choice words for my brain.
I had hoped that they would stage the group a little different this race. the 35-39 guys are running some of the fastest laps and also have the most traffic to deal with. I can guarantee that our lap times would be at least a minute faster a lap with the open track that some of the other groups get. I will say that everyone was really good about passing.
It was another one of those 3,2,1 go things and of course it always seems to start with a hill. Even with crap legs I still went into my mindset for these races. Go as hard as you can, if you blow up, you blow up. Terry Dean took the lead right off the start line, I grabbed his wheel. The first lap was a bit longer with some double track to split up the group. Terry and I worked together and gapped the pack pretty quickly.
Into the first single track I got my reminder on how much I love Albion Hills. Fast!!! Terry and I started catching slower riders from the group ahead. This is also where I found out how my legs really felt. One of the long climbs had about a 20 foot section of mud in it. I hit that and the bike felt like the anchor hit the ground. Terry dropped me. Got through it and started to push but he was gone.
Ok, focus Matt. In the following sections of single track was the first time I saw Dave. He was close enough to see me means he is close enough to catch me. I recovered quickly and did everything I could to get past as many slower riders in the double track as I could. Hoping that some human obstacles would slow him down and give me a bit of breathing room. Seemed to work because when I came through the timing tent I never saw him again.
Lap 2 was nothing spectacular. Dr. Bill was my bottle guy today. He does so much for my racing. Thanks Bill!!! Found my rhythm this lap and just had fun. Of course I did almost hit a tree and looked like a complete rookie trying to pass a rider at the top of a climbing. Heading into the single track he stalled up to let me go and I lost my balance. Both feet unclipped and banged into a tree. The guy was thinking how did this guy catch me riding like that. I was actually a little embarrassed.
Lap 3 was where things changed. I knew I had a good lead on 3rd now and a ton of traffic between us. I also caught a glimpse of Terry in the distance. That bright green points leader Jersey should have a bulls eye on it. Going through the feed zone I was my typical smart ass self and belted out a couple one liners getting the feeders laughing. Hey we are racing mountain bikes not doing brain surgery. Gotta have fun.
Half way through the lap I look down, oh crap no bottle. HMMM well I'm not going to turn around an look for it. The thought did cross my mind though. If it was a beer I would have!! This is also when that green jersey seemed to be a little closer. He is fading. Actually he wasn't I was going faster. Lap time numbers show that. Sweet.
At one point I was talking with a rider saying I'm not sure I will catch him. That is when we both say him and I hear there he is go get him. I found out later that Terry heard that. He said he started to put it all out there. We are running out of race track but I'm getting closer and closer. I had another rider help slingshot me in the double track section. Every thing I could do but unfortunately it wasn't enough. I came in 11 seconds behind him. I was wired when i crossed the line. I really wanted to do another lap, hell I wish this would have been an 8 hour.
2nd place. Where did this come from. I really would have been happy finishing in the top five and back a few minutes from the leaders. I had just over 2 minutes on 3rd place. Someone asked me if I wanted to switch over to short course racing now. Hell NO!!! They hurt to much. I love the long races.
Now I will say that I really did have a major advantage over most of the riders on that course. I have done at least 6 24 hour solo/tag teams races at Albion Hills. I swear I know every root, switchback and climb there. This was also a great chance for me to preview what Solstice will be like and how the XC Carbon feels on the trails. No worries for either.
It's a rest day today, Dr. Bill will rip the legs apart this evening. One more build week, 2 weeks till the first 8 hour. I'm feeling really happy with where my fitness and riding level is at right now. My remainder of my panic attack of last week is gone.
Will get some pictures up as they come in.