It all started early Sunday morning...the rain was pouring and both Andrea and I needed an extra cup of joe to get going. The motivation was low and the legs were still a little sore to the touch from Wed and Thursdays training. I knew the pain would disappear as soon as Don yelled Go.
I had a great jump off the line and took the field through the first corners. Jesse soon took over...and inflicted the first bit of pain for the day. I wasn't prepared for such a long technical climb, nor did I think the trail would be so greasy in some spots. Jesse and Marko had a sizeable gap after the first singletrack as Mr. Tree was rippin' popplers out of the earth. I thought it was game over right off the bat......but I managed to rip the next singletrack and closed the gap. Soon after Eppen did the same and after a Lap there was 4.
Starting Lap 2 Jesse was still in command and Eppen lost contact. Jesse asked if we had done this section before and I reminded him we had done it for 24 hours. Once again we were down to the original 3!
Lap 3 Marko took over and Jesse dropped in on my wheel. I felt like Jesse was studying my every move like a chess match setting up for a last lap pain session! Marko seemed to be riding a very comfortable pace and Eppen started clawing his way back. I wasn't really interested in having another riding partner so on the next dirt road section I launched my first attack. The brothers responded! I recovered. Then I launched another. They responded I recoverd. I launched another starting Lap 4, but couldn't shake either of them.
I smiled to myself wondering if I was hurting them or just myself. I tried one more before the first climb, again to no avail. Then I pushed it pretty good up the climb and through the first singletrack. As we approached Ho Chi Minh Jesse was losing air in his front tire and was losing contact. Marko seemed slighlty overgeared and as we climbed it was getting more and more quiet. I shot out of the single track with a 5 second gap and instantly attacked again.
I felt pretty confident I had enough in the tank to hold on for the win and finished with close to a minute over Marko. The legs were good, but the win came with much more pain than the previous weekend.
Andrea once again had a good race with much tougher competition. Her times were much closer to Abby and Holly. She finished 7th with quite a few good crashes. She was pretty amped up at the finish after getting crashed by a comp racer.
I am reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell right now called Outliers......it's pretty good and highly recommended. It reminds me of how many opportunties I have had to make it to where I am now. So thanks to all my sponsors, Gear Grinder, Trek, Hyundai, Oakley, Crank Bros, Bell Helmets, and thanks to all my Family and Friends who have supported me.