Anyways... back to Nevada at 5200ft... In years prior I had always ridden a full suspension on this course because it's pretty gradual climbing and almost constant seated pedaling over moto trails (a.k.a.- lots of small roller bumps). But since it's not very rocky, I decided to give the Highball a shot this year. And I was happy I did. Combined with the fast rolling WTB Nano's... it was a rocket!
I took the lead right from the gun and tried to push through that first 5 minutes of leg burn that always seems to hurt the worst. I guess it's the body saying "Oh not this again..." But I got through it and onto the singletrack and I could hear one person in tow, but I was trying not to look back and just keep the power down. The first half of the loop is a deceptive climb. With all the rollers, small and big, there are lots of false flats where you don't think you're climbing but you are. There's one steep and loose climb which I made up in lap 1 (but not 2&3 due to it getting chewed up by other racers hiking) and a couple other good pitches that sear the lungs, legs, and let you know you're climbing at elevation. But the payoff is a long, gradual downhill with banked turns, rollers to pump and double and bushes to duck under while brake drifting.
I set off down the hill, still in the lead, and decided I was going to try to keep up with the lead moto who rides out front making sure the trail is clear from other users. So at every opportunity I was sprinting and pushing the pace, absolutely railing this trail (pats self on back) and staying on his wheel. Off road motor-pacing?!?!?! YES PLEASE!!! BRAAAP!!!
I've always told myself that smooth and fun is fast, and that was certainly true here. As I started lap two, my chasers were nowhere in sight. Even as far back as I could see on the dirt road before entering the singletrack again. But I still had my lead moto and I kept my pace as high as I could.