Winner in 2:33 yesterday ... in the rain. 2:45 was 12th place. So much for predictions.
I was good for 100 meters, up the first part of the first climb, then slowly drifted backwards. Or not so slowly. Felt OK, but just couldn't match the power of the front half of the field. Don't know why, training not geared for it? Looked at my watch -- we'd only been riding for 18 minutes. Shit. First lap -- for me, mid- to back pack -- at less than 53 minutes. Holy crap.
Put a foot down at the top of the first singletrack, not because of me but because we were backed up. Traffic for the rest of the race, most not too bad because of the wide course, some really stupid stuff. WEMS riders know how to get out of the way faster. And there are fewer of them. Never had to stop again, thankfully, and rode the mudslide every time. But I definitely got caught by riders behind me because of traffic.
Actually, when the downpour started, I was feeling pretty good -- not fast, but technically. Stayed upright through all the crap, even managed to avoid a few knarly crashes right in front of me. Maybe too cautious? The singletrack was more ridable once the rain rolled in, perfect peanut butter.
And then ... flat. So I grabbed my Big Air and tried to reinflate. Nada. Crap. Couldn't get the tire to re-engage. 1400 meters of walking to the chalet. Clean the bike. Back to the parking lot. And ... the tire has a tube in it. Shit. I thought it was tubeless. I must have put a tube in maybe 2 months ago? No wonder the air didn't work. Pinch flat. Damn. Game over.
On the plus side, 9 Mile ROCKS. I may have blown my warmup a bit, instead of going out and hammering a few intervals to open up, I was having too much fun on the black-diamond singletrack on the other side of Red Bud Road. Those rock gardens are awesome! Too bad 9 Mile is 5 hours away. I'm trying to figure out when/if I can squeeze in another trip up there before 24-9.
32 minutes ago