Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pop-tarts or chips...?

It's official, the race season in finally in full swing. Two weeks ago was a sweet double header, Cat Classic on Saturday and Michaux 50 miler on Sunday. Both races happened to be the first of the year to happen in good old PA. The Cat Classic was awesome. I'd never raced this course before but it rocks, literally. Lots of grass climbing with super rocky descents, some of which put Michaux to shame. The competition also showed up in full force. Chris "Eat-off-a-Plate" showed up along with the entire VisitPA crew, the twins, and lots of other strong guys. The race was pretty uneventful for me other than feeling exceptionally good and being able to reel in several riders on the last lap. I ended up in 4th place taking home some desent loot.

In preparation for Sunday's race in Michaux I followed Brandon home for some dinner (massive steaks courtesy of Mrs. D), bike cleaning, and hopefully some sleep. We didn't get back to Shippensburg until almost 12 that night and had to be up by 6 in order to make the race. It was also the worst night of sleep I've ever had. Brandon's less than intelligent roomate came in, turned on the light, and promptly left again. Oh yeah, and my air mattress went flat during the night leaving me to lay on less than comfortable concrete.

The next morning we rose, got some food, and headed to the race. After a short delay due to downed powerlines we were on course. I was able to keep Chris and the rest of the lead group in sight for the first 7 miles before I fell back and settled into my pace for the day. I rode most the 50 miles with a fellow named Rueben a good friend of one, Harlan Price. We talked for a while, made some jokes, complained about the climbing, and ate Tastycakes together. When the day was over I rolled through the finish in 5th spot, again in the money.

This weekend was the debut of the newly revamped Mid Atlantic Super Series at French Creek. Knowing that the course was going to be completely different than last years I put quite a few pratice laps on the course and had determined that the paved climb would be a critical part in who would win the race. Off the line I had the holeshot until Jeff Shalk passed me just before the singletrack started. From then on it was a crap shoot for the top 6 riders. Back and forth action made for the most exciting race I've been a part of. On the final lap of the paved climb I found myself riding with Brandon, only about 20 seconds or so behind Harlan and Kyle. I lucked out quite a bit as this was the exact senario that I'd had imagined on my pre-rides. Towards the top of the road I attacked Brandon, who I thought had more in the tank than I did. When I turned around to see that he hadn't followed me I knew I was on my own to try and reel the two leaders in on the final descent. I caught Kyle about halfway down but wasn't even close to doing the same to Harlan. I crossed the line in second about 30 clicks behind Harlan with Brandon less than 10 seconds behind me. What a great race to kick off the season with.

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