Monday, August 08, 2011


This race never gets easier, it just makes you better. I came in with the best legs I've had in awhile and a top notch team ready to go. MuddyPaws put together a super fun course that the weather would wreak havoc on throughout the weekend. We started off not too hot with a few early mechanicals keeping me from redlining off the bat. After Adam got things dialed in I started to put down some time. 5 laps in and a thunderstorm stopped the race. Chris Strout was the only other one to finish his 5th lap 9 minutes behind me. I've raced Chris back when he was a midwesterener and knew I could never count him out.

2 hours later we restart headfirst into a mudfest. Opting for black shorts and a thick chamois, I find Chris' wheel for the first few miles before going to work again. Rode hard throughout the day as the course slowly improved. Night laps went alright as a decline slowly crept in from the days effort. Chris started plugging some good laps and chipped away at the 27min lead I had built, coming to within a couple minutes. He was on the attack. 3:30AM: Needing to snap out of my lull, I handed my bike off to my team for a freshening while I took a shower and and downed some spaghetti. I gambled Chris was near the end of his second wind and it was time to counter. Cleanded up, I was able to put some solid laps into the dawn. The sunrise lap is always a sweet part of the race but the downside is once the morning sets in you just want the race to be over. The efforts we put in paid off and extended my lead, but after you blow through a late race effort the last couple laps drag on. To add to the misery a brief downpour came through a little after 8am, remuddying the course and adding additional irritation to already irritable places.

No one wants to do their last lap. You know you have to, but you don't want to. I came in at 9:20. Chris headed out at quarter-to. If he was on, he could make it in for another. I had to finish after 10:00, so it was off for a final lap. I rode with the sixth place guy for half a lap before riding away. This is alway the hardest part of the race. You just want the thing to be over, you know the best way is to make it as quick as possible but your just to beat to ride any faster than you need to. About 10:30 I finally crossed the finish line. While it was my third solo win, it was my first time winning the Open class, so it was more meaningful, especially against a tough competitor like Chris. I have to thank everyone who came to support at the race this year, my parents for pitting and bringing the RV, Adam for wrenching, Tbone for his help, Derek(who rode to 3rd in Solo SS!) and his GF Shannon for keeping my legs tuned and everyone else who cheered on, it was a great time and it all helped! Also thanks to the guys at Hayes/Answer/Manitou for their great products, event sponsor Salsa for making race winning bikes and Muddy Paws for another great event! See ya'll there next year!

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