photo credit: Dave Holmes
Photo courtesy of Knoxvillecycling.
Got mud? (Somebody needs a WARM bath.)
Sunday was a new day and the rain was gone. The mud wasn't however and the temperature tanked overnight and it was cold. I hopped on my trainer again to warm up for about 30 minutes and then went out to ride a lap with a friend of mine - Mike Mefford. Mike's a really strong rider and won the day before, there really wasn't a reason he shouldn't do it again (except a flat tire, he ended up second. Still a very nice finish). The course was backwards this time and that meant no place to rest and lots more climbing that the day before. It was going to be tough.
At the start, I followed Mike into the first turn with I don't know how many behind us maybe 20-25). I looked at the first turn before the race and it made me a little nervous. Kinda downhill into a really sloppy turn followed by another sloppy dip and then open course. It worked out fine though and I stayed on Mike's wheel as long as I could. A few racers got by me and there was some trading places over the next lap or so. The pace we made left everyone else so all I had to worry about were the guys in front of me. I was really suffering on the long, mushy climbs but I figured everyone else was too. Going into the last lap, I thought I was alone but looked over in a turn to see two guys gaining on me. I put in a really hard effort on the first climb I came to expecting to open up a gap. I looked back - Damn! Still there. Next climb, another hard effort and that lost one guy but the other was still there. With 1/4 lap to go, I was really feeling the redline effort I just put out and was thinking I might get passed. The final 300 yds was pavement and when I hit that, I downshifted a few gears and hit it hard (as I could). I looked back just before the line and he wasn't pushing so I sat up and soft-pedaled the final 50 feet.
It was fun. I ended up 5th.