Greenbrier didn't always used to be so nice to me. We've slowly become better friends over the past 5 years. Heat exhuastion, DNF's, flats, and stubborn UCI officials have kept me from having respectable days there. Ok, so I did crush the singlespeed class two years ago on a borrowed pink bike, but I should have been racing for Olympic points. In more recent years our relationship has taken a smoother road. Last year I think she felt some pity for me. This year, she let me go all the way.
The starting line at Greenbrier is always a little different than just about any other race. The mix of people is always a little more varied and definitely a little deeper. It's UCI credentials draws competetiors from both sides of the Mason Dixon and usually a few from Canada. Its always a hard book to judge by its cover.
Immediately, from the start, I liked how I felt. Nothing felt hard, accelerations were matched, and I really started to feel like I had a shot. Brandon took over a lot of the pacemaking towards the beginning as a group of 3 of us pulled away somewhere on the second lap. With the heat, we kept it rolling at a sustainable pace for the next 4 laps, all staying together. When we hit the 5th lap, it started to break apart. Brandon, who had been without a bottle for a lap or so, (and said nothing about it as to not give away a weakness) slowed a bit to take advantage of his fresh bottle. Figuring we'd see him again in a few minutes, I rolled up next to Harlan, asked him how he was feeling, and heard a hesitation. That was all I needed. Without straight up attacking, I accelerated on a smaller climb early in the lap, but as soon as I was out of sight I gassed it til the end. My first significant Pro win, and UCI point starter kit. I hope these legs stick around for while...
The trip across the pond is still 4 weeks away. Passport, flight booked, forms signed, I'm all ready. There's nothing to do but wait.
Rocktober Marathon is only 16 days away though. Circle May 16th and be there. The website isn't that helpful right now so check out the bikereg page for the real info and ultimately to sign-up! It will break a lot of people!