I chose to skip day 1, not wanting to squander all my goodwill with work, as well as to take a little time to recover from all the racing in the previous week. It was very hot out, reaching a record temperature of 87 degrees F in Oct. Seriously!?! It was hot enough out that I put a bottle cage on the bike, after seeing that I wouldn't have to shoulder it, with no major run ups on the roadie friendly power course.
I was smart enough to wait in the shade before my race, while they were staging, knowing that I was going to be near the back anyway. I lined up a little ahead of Mike Cook, and David Patnaude, it was good seeing some other MRC guys with me in the 3's. The start quickly became a total nightmare, I had gotten a good jump and was steadily moving up through the pack as we moved up the pavement, when I got pinched by some riders stopping for seemingly no reason. I jumped the curb, and fought to make up some of the spots I lost, but then another rider went down ahead of me, taking out several riders with him. I had to hit the brakes hard and swerve quickly to keep from being tangled up myself. This was all before I even got onto the dirt. At this point I was probably close to 110 out of 138 riders. I just put my head down, and worked on picking guys off one at a time. The course wasn't my favorite, requiring big watts, but I was actually making up places through the barriers, and on the finishing straight each lap. I was having fun at the beer garden area, jumping off the lip of the uphill section, and getting "rad". I made contact with Uri, who had shaved his beard, leaving him with a mustache, and looking like a young Tom Ritchey. We proceeded to vie for fastest mustache.
I was feeling pretty good about how I was moving up, but then at the end of the second to last lap, I got put into the snow fencing on the off camber section before the barriers. This was after calling, "left side" twice to the rider I was passing. I jammed my index, and middle finger into a wood post, and couldn't bend them for the last lap. It turns out that the guy who did it used to work with me at REI, and I don't think he did it maliciously, but I was pretty ticked at the time. I Managed to pass Todd P., and the young Keough on the pavement, but then completely blew a turn because I couldn't use my left hand to brake, and they got away from me. I managed a 90th place finish, but I can't help but wonder how it would have gone if I had a clean start. Thankfully nothing was broken with my hand and fingers, a big thanks to Dr. Jay for checking out my hand after the race.
Post race observations:
-Hotter than hell
-Getting crashed out