I decided to not make the same mistakes I made in the first race of the season at the Pick Your Poison XC here in Chattanooga. The guy that beat me at that race would also be on the start line in Memphis, along with good friend and former co-worker Matt McCulley and one more racer.
We started hard from the gun, but I made sure not to be the first one to hit the trail, I did not want to lead everyone. I fell in behind Matt for second wheel. Taking an alternate route on a steep downhill section, I fell back one place and was now sitting 3rd wheel. A few miles later, I heard the guy riding in 4th crash. After a few miles of him not catching back on, I figured we had dropped him and he would no longer be in contention for the race. The 3 of us rode through the start/finish to start lap two. Matt attacked hard through the technical section of trail and stayed away for a few minutes. We caught back on after the steep section and continued to pedal on in our 3 man formation. The two lead riders gap'ed me a few times and Matt was even out of sight once or twice. I keep pushing on calmly and usually made up the ground when the trail went up.
About mile 6 into lap two, the rider in 2nd wheel attacked in an open section. Matt, who had been leading the entire race, sat up. He asked me if I was going to chase it down. I then realized Matt had no intention of chasing the rider breaking away. I had to jump. I closed the gap down pretty quickly and was on the lead rider's wheel by the time we dropped back into the tougher trail section. The pace had picked up. The trail was more fun and dangerous now. The two of us rode together through the start/finish again and started lap 3 together.
|Railing a corner.|
|Up and Over.|
The next big challenge will be the State Road Race Championship. Thankfully my performance has been coming back over the past week and a half with some good power numbers for the times I think it will take to complete the climbs on the course. With 5 mid race climbs, it will still be a hard and challenging race. May the best rider win. I must admit that my real focus has already moved away from the road and is centered on the track. I've been enjoying my time in Atlanta and have a few big races and a training camp lined up for the rest of the season. I'll say bye to long endurance rides and pick up on all intervals of 5 minutes and less.