|Photo Credit- Brian Joder|
I didn't know quite how I'd feel, after not riding the day before, the weekend before, and getting in just a few rides last week while out in Colorado. I certainly wasn't feeling as... um... "lean" as usual after the time off and indulging in some "comfort food" the night before (Jen made AWESOME gf/df lemon bars!), but my hour long ride out to the venue from work helped warm me up.
|Photo Credit- Paul Stewart|
The first lap was quite fast and the three MM/Spec guys were working together which got me a little worried. So on the second half of the lap when the course got tight and a little more techy, I went to the front to try and push the pace.
|Photo Credit- Tim Westmore|
By lap two it was Kurt and I out front working together as we started to get into lapped traffic. With nearly constant "On your left!" "On your right!" we worked our way through the hundreds of riders out there for the remaining laps and pushed each other... hard! My left pedal is getting quite loose and my foot came flying out a few times, so my ability to sprint was hindered, but thankfully the Tallboy makes it easy to put down good power while seated.
On the last lap, Kurt got a gap on me when I had to check up for a lapped rider in a corner before passing, but about a half mile later he got held up by some traffic on a sketchy climb (love those cobbles!) so I was able to catch back up.
|Photo Credit- Paul Stewart|
I went to the front in the same spot as lap 1, thinking that with the course layout and traffic there might not be another opportunity to pass. With about a 1/4 mile to go, I hugged the inside of a corner and Kurt had enough room and momentum to attack the outside and went by. I stayed on his wheel and we were hammering the last rollers, but with the final sweeping turn being just one lane in the cobbles I ran out of real estate before the finish line to come in 2nd.
After the race I did some more riding around the park and had some fun playing on some of the trails that aren't normally part of the race courses. This was actually my first ride on a new pair of ENVE 29xc wheels, this time paired with Chris King hubs on a 28 spoke count instead of 32. I have to say that the engagement on the King hubs is every bit as awesome as they're reported to be (even with the "angry bee" freewheel sound!) and the wheels are still wonderfully stiff with four fewer spokes. I put them to the test, accidentally, casing a double off camber with the front which led me towards a ditch where I totally bottomed out the rear end hard. Both wheels still true as ever...
It felt great to have such hard, close racing out there and to really be pushed by strong riders. It really helped clear my thoughts and help me move on to keep doing what I need to do, realize just how blessed I am to have had the Highball in the first place and to have other great bikes to ride as well. But more importantly to reflect on just how awesome and supportive this MTB community is! Thanks to everyone who expressed their condolences and who are on the watch for my stolen Highball. And thanks to Tony, Brian, and the rest of the PCRS crew for an awesome course and event.