The race started pretty good, smooth out of the gates and up the first few climbs. It never surged really hard until the start of lap 2 when Eppen crushed it out of the bowl and up the next few climbs. Tristan responded by crushing it even harder and I was in trouble. Lucky there was just enough of a let up before the last of the big climbs on the first half of the course. I went to the front to slow things down a little. Tristan was having none of it....he attacked me over the top of the hill and I knew that was the moment. I dug deep, the bike responded, the legs responded and I made it... Eppen was gone and Anderson dangled at 5 seconds for 1/4 of a lap, but then dissapeared. I followed Tristan the rest of lap 2 and 3. I led all of lap 4 and was feeling the fatigue setting in....
Tristan attacked starting the last lap and I didn't have it to go with him...I stayed steady and was slowly closing the gap the remainder of the lap, but didn't have the horsepower in the end.
Secrets to my success....1. the Top Fuel with the DT Swiss rear shock. It's so much better than the stock Fox w/ "Pro Pedal" Had to do a little funky cable routing to get it to work. Also a little challenge to manage the Fox remote lockout w. the cable pull of the DT, but where there is a will there is a way. The DT is like a hard tail when you step on it....then like a duely when you want to rip a downhill. 2. race smart...lots of wind on the course. hide as much as possible! 3. mentally fresh & well prepared. 4. new Oakley Radar's 5. New Team colors keeping it fresh 6. new Egg Beater 11's from Crank Bros! 7. The new formulated Clif Shot's...easy to get down the hatch even when its frickin' freezing.
I think overall I'm coming into this season with a little less lost fitness compared to last offseason. With a little more time on the bike in Tucson...mostly commuting to work and fun mtb rides w/ Andrea, Gravel Rouser and Barry Roubaix, I think I'm in a little better shape. I'm pretty happy about this as I'm only officially 2 weeks into the training plan...hopefully up up up from here.