This past weekend was the 30th Chequamegon Fat Tire 40 and it was my 10th attempt. In 2003 I finished 3rd...this past weekend I finished 3rd. Does that mean in 10 years I haven't improved at all?!?!
My race left me with mixed emotions, but the reality of it was it was a great weekend. It's hard to be the 3 time defending champion and be happy with a 3rd place. I wanted to win, but my mental desire wasn't strong enough with my head in the clouds during the race dreaming of cross season.
I really thought our huge leading group would separate at Martels Pothole and it started to snap, but when we came to Boedecker Rd it neutralized and we proceeded to race pretty slow for the next 20 minutes or so. So slow that I found myself riding in 10th place and even drifting as far as 10 ft off the back of the group. I wasn't in it mentally. Mike Anderson came back to chat with me a little, but it didn't wake me up...as the group made the right turn to Firetower I was in shock that I was so out of it I didn't even realize where we were on the race course. Going up Firetower in 10th is not smart racing. I started passing guys, first Mike Phillips, then Mike Olheiser after he opened the gap, but the gap was open.
In the past it would come back together on the descent, but this year it didn't. I was starting to panic a little, but when we caught McCartney at the bottom I thought he was the ticket back to the lead 4 on the Birkie. We got to within 10 seconds, but then Busche and Mike A started to check out. Now we were a group of 5(Cole, Corey S, Me, McCartney, & Phillips) chasing 2. I thought we would catch them going down Telemark Rd for sure and I was still trying to be patient. Cole Flatted, Jason disappeared in a huge puddle, and Corey was hurting...Our group of 5 just went down to Phillips and I in a 1 mile time frame...2 on 2 and we didn't stand a chance.
I had to switch gears and start racing to salvage a podium. Mission accomplished! In my 10 years of Cheq I have been on the podium 7 times. 1 4th, and 1 7th (sprinting for 1st), I had one mechanical battling for 3rd and ended up stuck on the side of the trail and limping in for 17th. Not bad!
This weekend more than anything I was proud of Andrea. She has been shooting for a top 10 at Chequamegon for years and finally nailed it....10th place. She attacked a girl on the last climb and beat her by 9 seconds!
Also proud of some of my Momentum Endurance Athletes. Corey Stelljes 5th overall, Brett Poulton 2nd in the Short and Fat,Bob Clark 30 positions and 4 minutes faster than previous best, Bill Street 75 positions better than previous best, Anthony Ferrara 10 minutes faster than previous best, Mike Carney 20 minutes faster than previous best, Greg Molnar on pace for PR before flatting. All in all it was a great weekend.
Now its time to switch gears and get ready for cross season.