Berryman is a short story. A bunch of guys rode away from me on the starting climb. I started to reel people back over the next 10-15 miles. Then I shifted my rear derraileur into to the wheel and my race was done. I had to walk 4-5 miles to the next checkpoint to get a ride back to the Start. Thanks Trudi! I didn't hang out, but just started driving home planning to ride Smithville on Sunday.
Things went a little better Sunday at Sailboat Cove! I psyched myself up to ride hard for the whole 50 minutes, especially with having the MTB race cut short. Off the start I didn't get into to my pedal right away and lost the hole shot. I slotted in 3rd behind Travis who got the hole shot, and another rider I didn't recognize. I was going for the hole because that first turn off the pavement into the grass is always a little sketchy. On the start line, Britton predicted trouble and he was right.
The rider in front of me lost his front wheel right as we left the pavement and basically blocked up the best line. Out of caution, I had given him a little space entering the corner and as a result I was able to squeeze around him on the outside. I don't think anyone else got through clean. Travis had a little gap on me and I set about to closing it up. He held the lead through the roller coaster turns after the start and then the second set of turns by the parking lot. Once we got on the bike trail heading to the beach I put down the power and was able to pass for the lead before we got back on the grass.
The next interesting section was the beach. This year the sand was basically packed down and the exit was a pretty easy ride up. I gassed it hard from there and made sure I was accelerating hard out of every corner. Over the course of the first lap I had built up an 18 sec lead over Travis with Brian Jensen at 25sec (mostly due to the first corner crash). Somewhere on the second lap the lead had grown to 25sec and 32sec. Brian overtook Travis on the 3rd or 4th lap. Somewhere close to halfway I think I was told the gap was over a minute. We were doing 10 laps and the finish seemed pretty far away when I saw 5 laps to go.
Basically, I just tried to continue to give it my all on the straight sections and be smooth and fast in the corners. I started to get into lapped traffic pretty quick, I think around half way. Everyone was great and let me by without much delay. I especially have to thank Tyler Henson who took the slow line on the beach (caught on film even!) to let me hit the exit with a clear run, muchas gracias!
Unlike Saturday, I had no equipment issues. I rode which Challenge clinchers--Fango up front and Grifo XS in the rear--and they worked great. I had the pressure just right and I didn't have any issues.
I got another time check on the penultimate lap, and it was 2:05. I managed to stretch it out to 2:15 as I hit the last lap. This is great because it means I stayed on the gas and the power didn't fade too much late in the race. I don't know what our lap times were but I suspect we raced close to 55min.
As usual the Smithville course was awesome with the classic elements from years past, as well as some new elements. On the whole I think this year's course was an improvement over last year.
Last, but not least, a big thanks to Chris Locke and all the other people and sponsors who made this race happen.