Friday, May 25, 2012
Strava KOM. Once on the trail I kept the pace high and simply enjoyed myself on the rough Arkansas terrain skating around the gravelly corners and floating over the rocks. I even put on a show for Drew who was right behind me as I unclipped both feet flying over a rock garden in an attempt to pull off a Superman followed up with an X-factor, but I was not confident enough to let go of the bars. The three of us continued pushing the pace at the front and were also joined by Rob Spreng until he suffered the misfortunes of a sidewall tear about 20 miles in. The miles were flying by and I was expecting it to be one hell of a sufferfest at the end. However just before aid station 2 Christian took a header in a rock garden in front of me. I came to a stop to see if he was ok as he laid there with his bike on top of him. After saying that he was ok I took off to catch back up to Drew. Unfortunately for Christian the damage was a little more than he expected as he noticed a puncture wound in his leg after standing back up which ultimately forced him to end his pursuit for the day. I caught back up to Drew, but then slowly started to lose him again as he steadily picked up the pace. After just chasing back on I decided to keep it steady and hope for a payoff by the finish as we were not yet at the half way point. Everything was continuing to go smoothly until after aid station 4 when I really began to notice the heat and humidity that the Southeast is known for. I went out on the second lap of the red loop which was approximately 12 miles expecting to only need 1 bottle of Perpetuem but with 90 degrees of sunshine blasting the course my body was running on fumes and 3 bottles would have been much more appropriate. I soon began cramping and knew the last stretch of the race was going to be painful. Each pedal stroke seemed harder than the last and I began to worry about other racers coming up from behind. I pressed on, but not without looking over my shoulder every 5 minutes. The final hour and a half of the race felt like it was longer than the previous 5 hours, but I was able to hold onto 2nd place which was my best NUE finish to date! Looking back over the past few weeks of racing I would have never expected a result like this, but now I know that my form is back along with my confidence which will hopefully lead me to having a very successful campaign in the 2012 NUE Series.