Pontiac came and went in a flash. Maybe because my round trip in the car was only 1.5 hours instead of 4.5 hours. Met up with Dub 9 in the early morning again but also got to chat with more guys and gals I haven't seen in a while. Most noticeably Todd "the Hitman" Powers. I was lucky enough to catch up with him at the registration table and then hitched on his wheel for the warm up ride before the race. Was great to catch up with him and get some pointers from a seasoned veteran who knows a thing or two about racing.
I was a bit nervous again before the race but found myself as calm as could be at the starting line. It had warmed up with the sun shining it final broke into the 40's before my start time. Last weekend at Yankee it was in the 30's and when I arrived at Pontiac it was still in the 30's.
I lined up Dave Z from Cycletharapy. Cool guy but he wasn't in my class so I planned to work with him as a team the first few miles. We were to go off together and he seemed to know more about the trail than me so my plan was to let him take the hole shot and lead us out over the first 2 miles. Well right before the first set of climbs he let me by and I think it worked out well for me as I had a clear look at the all the lines to the top. Again, he was not in my class but he pulled me thru the first couple miles which was part of the trail I didn't remember. Thanks Dave! (Dave leading us out from the start and into the singletrack)
The rest of the trail came to me in flashes as I would come up on certain sections. It was like deja vu. So I was able to set up for certain corners, descents and also pick my gearing accordingly as well as manage my heart rate. The first lap went by faster and with much less suffering than the first lap at Yankee the week prior. I was feeling good but was still wondering if I could keep it up for another lap. I came around to lap though and accidentally missed the sharp right to start my second lap and had to lock the brakes up. I was in track stand mode for a split second and then turned the wheel right and just made it back to the loop chute without putting a foot down. But I was in a big gear so I was standing up pulling on the pedals to get my speed back up. Dumb dumb dumb mistake that would later cost me precious seconds. (My face reacting early to what was about to happen 60 seconds later as I over shot the lap)
I had already switched bottles and downed some calories before the lap split so I was off and ready to tackle lap #2. I had cleared most of the slower traffic my first loop and after the 2 mile climb my legs were still feeling pretty good. Felt way stronger than last week and more along the pace of where I thought I should be. Due to less traffic I was able to get into a rhythm and focus more on the trail rather than trying to find room to pass people. I still passed 3 riders on the second lap but I passed at least 10 on the first. The second lap felt much smoother than the first and I felt more controlled over myself and the bike. All the metal notes I had taken the first lap had paid off and I came into the finish chute strong going on 9 seconds slower than my first lap. First lap was a 43:18 and second was 43:27. I knew the top guys would be pulling 42's so I would probably not crack the top 5 but I would be close. As the results were posted I saw that Lako and Osgood both ran a ~41:30 first loop and ~42:00 second loop to net them a 2nd and 3rd place. Damn that's fast. I saw that I took 7th and considering how my off season went I was okay with that. Top 5 would have been nice but I felt I managed my race well and rode a clean race with minimal mistakes. That was until Brian pointed out that I finished less than 4 seconds behind the guy in 6th and less than 10 seconds behind the guy in 5th. Remember me earlier mentioning I overshot the loop around....it cost me 6th place for sure. Not sure I lost 10 seconds there but I know it was at least 5. But that's Time Trialing. It's you against the clock and you have no idea how anyone else did until the results are posted. Kudos to the two guys who finished right in front of me. I am sure they felt pretty good about their finishes and went home happy.
Congrats to my guys Lako and Osgood for such a great race. Always good to see them off the course and on the podium. Hopefully I will be back up with them soon. Also thanks to Todd Powers for the pre race pep talk and also the on course inspiration to push on and get that second lap time I needed to try for that podium. If I were to ever have a coach he'd be the guy I would call. But last, congratulations to my main training partner Brian "The Diesel" McCabe. He cleaned house on his single lap in the Sport category to capture his first solo win in his 6 years of racing. He has come close a handful of times in the past but this day he left them all in the dust with the closest guy finishing 2 minutes behind him. Don't remember his time but I wish I could have seen him on the podium. I tried to stick around for it but Taiwind was running slow and I had to get home. (Check out The Diesel bringing it down the hill to the home stretch....drifting his front tire and all!!!)
I have this weekend off of racing but May 12th Brian and I will be going to Stony to either do the 6 or 12 hour solo races. Still on the fence of which one to do but will have to make a decision soon.