So Saturday I wake up early to the patter of rain on the roof. I load the vehicle, double checking that I have everything for the team riders that I promised I'd bring or that I know I need to bring. One day I'll make an exhaustive checklist, really I will.
The rain is coming down hard and so I don't rush off as quickly as I might. I make some instant oatmeal and follow Ed's tweets on my iPhone. Responding with some remark about turning off the sprinklers. I know the man has alot of faith but things certainly don't look promising. It's snowing/raining at the venue and even if it stops it's likely to be a messy day. Ed doesn't cancel.
I get a few texts and messages from team riders wondering. I assure them it's going to happen despite the weather.
I head up the canyon determined to be there for the team riders who do show and mentally ready to race despite the conditions. When I arrive, Dave & Scott are setting up the tent and I help them get it sorted out. We huddle in the Olympic tower an bemoan the fact that it's cold and wet and going to be muddy, but nevertheless we are ready to ride. More riders show up and the rain tapers off. The snow on the upper slopes behind the course starts to melt. Things are improving. Soon we are approaching race time and conditions have improved significantly.
While warming up we note the very muddy 12& under riders still on course. There's no way to avoid it I figure. Yet once we start the first lap it's not too bad. A little spongy and slick in spots, but rideable.
At the start I fall off from the leaders on the first hill and try to keep them in sight. There are 6 in front of me. Slowly I reel them back in. Dave, Geno, Reed, Vern, eventually Jason, but Ty is off the front and the gap is significant. I can't let up because Reed already came back to me once after passing him, so I know he's there watching me from behind and Jason is still very close. Too close to even make a minor mistake. I want to catch Ty but he's riding strong. I attack on the hills as best as I can and try to widen the corners so as not to slide out. It's a tricky race because of the conditions, and perhaps a bit slower than it would normally be, but overall the revised course was pretty good.
I finish in 2nd and I'm happy with the result, but determined to win at some point this season. I contemplate the expert category again but after checking results realize that even if I could hold my pace for a 3rd lap I would likely be 8th or 9th out of a 12 man field. I enjoy racing against the guys in my group, we have a good mix and it's anyone's guess as to who's going to race well each week. Yet at some point I know the longer distance is what I need to prepare for P2P and other events.
I don't know if I'm getting stronger physically but mentally I'm improving on my race tactics. The inability to go hard off the line is bothersome, but I just have to learn to live with it for now.
Looking forward to Draper and hoping I can keep the pace up again.