The recent rain put the course in great shape. Sticky, but not muddy. The race started fast. My group shot out of the gate and up the long steep opening climb. I let them go, not wanting to repeat last weeks early pop. Over the course of the climb I pulled a couple guys back, and hit the single track in 4th place. The next 3 laps were spent trying to get back onto the lead group. I was feeling incredible on the climbs, so I hammered them througout the race.
The course had enough tough climbing that I was able to bridge the gaps, catching a couple guys late in the race to finish 2nd. I was banking on the hot start causing the early leaders to pop, and eventually they did, all but the winner anyway. In hindsight I should have made my push a bit earlier, but I am not complaining. It was a great race, and I felt as good as I have all year.
Bob and a couple 30-39ers, including my teammate Tim, came by me on the opening lap, and I worked hard to stick thier wheels. It was painful, but instead of blowing up, I was able to hang on through the nice twisty climbs. They rode away on the downhill, which was driving me nuts all day. I am going to have to improve my switcback skills if I expect to do anything in the E100 series.
And speaking of that series, throughout yesterdays race, and actually during the last week’s worth of training, the numbers 13, 5.5 and 11 have been dominating my thoughts. They are becoming the heart and focus of my 2006 efforts. What do these numbers mean? Well, they are my finishing goals for each of the 3 events. 13 laps in the E12, 5.5 hours in the E50, and 11 hours in the E100.
These numbers are very ambitious for me. Perhaps even unrealistic. But I am going to work toward them none the less. I believe that if I ride nearly perfect races, I can achieve them. Working toward them will make me a better racer, and that showed even in the DV XC race yesterday.