This race is always one of my favorites. It has tons of long steep climbs, steep fast descents, and a few rocky sections. Plus it’s really close to where I grew up, even though I have never ridden there other than racing and pre-riding over the past several years. This year I was even more excited to do this race, since this was the first race that my girlfriend, Jocelyn would be attending and I would get to go home for the day to see my family.
The turnout wasn’t as high as it had been the past few years in part to race conflicts (the Massenutten Hoo-Ha and the Philly road race were the same day), but that would not make the race any easier. Racer’s to watch out for on Sunday were Kyle, Ray, the twins, my teammate TJ, and Chris Beck, who usually gets the upper hand on me when there’s a lot of climbing. From the start I set a pretty high tempo halfway up the first climb then kicked it up a notch to make sure that I entered the singletrack first. On this first climb I felt great and knew that I would be able to ride at or near the front the entire race. The only one keeping pace with me up the first climb was Chris. We rode down the first descent together and bolted up the second climb at a similar pace. Nobody else was within close distance and I wanted to keep it that way. As the course continued its climb descend pattern, I hammered up each climb and took some chances on the downhills to try to lose Chris as I did not want him to be within sight on the more technical second half of the course. My strategy worked, but not without a price to pay. My aggressive riding style made my legs want to cramp in the worst way, but by properly refueling and slowing down the pace for a little while I was able to shake it off and continue my suffering on the second half of the course. Although I did not see anybody, I continuously heard other riders since the course doubled back on itself in more than one place. This made me extremely nervous since it would be hard to kick up the pace if someone would catch back up to me, but fortunately I was able to roll solo through the second half of the course taking the win and setting a course record! Well that’s two weeks of good racing in a row. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this trend going for 24 hours of Big Bear this coming weekend.