WA state weather again today, rained on the pre-ride but course was in good condition. New trail very nice, much more suited to my climbing style, technical, but at a decent grade. Not the granny gear crank of the Dick Bass Hwy of years past. Eventually the Snowbird course will be one of the best. Next step, eliminate the treacherous gravel road downhill.
This year turned out pretty good. Reed and I sprinted off the line and went 1,2 into the single track. We were able to control the pace on the technical, rooty, rocky first section. This gave everyone a chance to relax I think, instead of cranking up a bill hill and blowing up. When we hit the new trail which eventually dumped us on a dirt road for stretch, the attacks came. I was able to only lose a few spots and we were back on single track. I got by Reed and then took some risks and snuck by Brad on the downhill, then it was only Kevin and John to try to hold on to. Kevin flatted, and, although I expected him to, didn't come back. So my goal was to try to stay in contact with John H on his FS setup and hold off Brad and Jason who I could see not far behind me. By the third lap however I couldn't even see J.H. anymore and I had a comfortable lead on the boys behind me, so I focused on keeping a steady pace and not making any BIG mistakes on the wet roots and rocks. More rain came on the final lap. It helped pack the downhill road a bit, but made other areas a bit tricky.
Overall a fun race and I finished 2nd. Best result this year. We'll see if the new Solitude course is also as friendly.
It's been a great race season this year, simply because the top 6 or so riders in our group are all pretty well matched and the time differences are very close. The determining factors are more how good someone is feeling that day and the type of course we are on. Then there's the ever present risk of mechanicals. (just hoping I don't have any) Overall, I'm really enjoying the racing this year.