WORS season is officially underway and the first race of the year is now in the record books. Yesterday was the Iola Bump & Jump and I finished 2nd after a tight battle with Cole House.
I chose to ride the Superfly SL Pro hardtail. I think it was the perfect bike...super fast for all the punchy climbs at Iola. My skills in the tight & twisty singletrack were definitely a little rusty. After talking w/ Cole post race I think it was my tire selection and too much tire pressure that was making me a little shaky in the singletrack. Cole was ripping on a big 2.35 knobby front tire and I was being a weight weenie and running a low rolling 2.0...great for the climbs, but maybe not the best combo of tire/hardtail for the bumpy singletrack.
Cole launched off of the start line and a solid group of contenders lead by Tristan chased the first lap. Starting lap 2 Cole had a 20 second gap so I went to the front and hit the throttle a little. I caused a separation and closed the gap down to only 5 seconds. RACC team mate Corey Stelljes finished up the chase and the race was down to 4 of us.
I struggled a little on lap 2 w/ the slower pace, so I decided it was really time to shake things up in the middle of the race....on the gas and stayed on it for lap 3 and then it was just down to Cole and I. In the middle of Lap 4 Cole got a 6-8 seconds gap after I got caught behind a lapped rider. It took me about 1/2 lap to close the gap. I was feeling the effort and instead of possibly being able to attack I was forced to rest. Cole was crushing the open sections and then lapped traffic forced some major recovery in the singletrack. With 5 or 6 minutes to go in the race Cole had the pressure on in the singletrack and lapped traffic got between the 2 of us again. We stayed at 5-6 seconds for the remainder of the race.
I'm pretty happy with the fitness level...even more pumped for Andrea who landed a podium position! Trek Top Fuels rounding out the podium in 1st and 5th! Next up: New adventures and looking forward to TSE!