After a good dinner, nice massage from my superwife/soigner Gina, and a good night sleep I was ready for another day of racing at E.H. Young Park. The post-race massage was a first (at least since the old days), might have to make that a regular occurrence! It'll help keep my aging muscles supple and injury-free.
Got there with plenty of time to do some pre-riding of the course changes. I made more than a few runs through the new riverside section with tricky sand. Eventually I figured out how to ride it, but not without a fall and a nice bruise on my shin. Initially, I was dubious of attempting to ride this section, but I eventually changed my mind in favor of riding because of the advantage of being on the bike for the exit up the hill.
The field was just as fast today, but with a little loss of depth. The Tradewind guys opted to do a gravel road ride instead of race. The Columbians (not Escobar's gente, but Butthead's peeps) were back. I figured Josh for a strong ride today after getting a race day in his legs. Jon's back/SI joint seemed like a limiter but you never know.
We got a clean start with Bill taking the holeshot and leading most of the first lap. I went by before the sandy river section so I would have a clean line to attempt to ride it. I got through clean but some chaos erupted behind and I had a 10-15sec gap just like that. I really didn't want to ride the whole 60 minutes by myself, but sometimes you need to take advantage of breaks when they go your way. So I set it on cruise control to see how vigorous the chase from behind would be. At first I thought this would be good because Tom & Bill could sit on the chase and save some juice for later. As it turns out, Tom had mechanical issues as a result of the sand chaos and would spend the day chasing. I think initially Jon was leading the chase, with Josh and Andrew Coe in close proximity. I more or less held the gap through the next few laps while the chase shuffled behind me. From my vantage point it looked like Jon faded back and Josh and Andrew were battling back and forth. About halfway through Josh seemed to be making some headway and was closing the gap. I had been holding back a little figuring I'd need some punch if he caught me. It held steady over the next couple laps though. With 2 laps to go I kicked it up a notch and I gradually stretched it back out to about 25secs at the finish. It was a hard way to win, but I shouldn't complain. Kind of boring race report from my perspective, but I bet Josh, Jon & Andrew's battle was pretty interesting.
(Photo credit to John Peck. He's got some great shots of the sand pit from Sunday on Facebook)
The team rode great as a whole with Tom riding back up to 4th place and Bill finishing 6th. Luke was up there too, we'll have to check the results for his final placing.
Technically, I rode a little better yesterday. I didn't seem to be cornering as well today. It may be that the slight increase in tire pressure meant I had a little less grip and a little less cushion on the bumps. I'll continue trying to dial this in just right. As for the sand by the river, I rode it successfully half to two-thirds of the time. A couple of my fails resulted in awkward dismounts which probably cost me a few secs each time. That's the risk of riding at the edge of your technical skill.
So I held on to the series lead and will hang on to the General Lee Jersey until October 30th. Yeehaw!
A big thanks to Jeremy Haynes and Joe Fox for putting this weekend on. Also to the officials and volunteers, we wouldn't get to play without your hard work...thanks!