Racing at Fort Rock is always interesting. Especially when its nice and slick from some passing storms the night before. This years edition of the course was a good use of the trail system I thought. There were a few more hike-a-bike sections than I would have liked but I think that was more a combination of the slick roots and the lack of gears, I'm sure other riders rode a bit more of the course just fine.
Early on I felt really good. I was riding mid pack and feeling strong, riding clean. Then the experts caught us (I hate it when promoters start the SS'ers before all the experts, it never works well). The traffic made it difficult to get the good lines, I lost my rhythm and had a hard time getting it back. Couldn't stay on my bike, kept dabbing and bobbling and a loose cleat didn't help matters.
About half way through the first lap the traffic finally spread out a bit and I was able to get going, unfortunately once I was really moving I came to a rather abrupt stop. Coming up to a little rocky step up with a quick left right move required I hooked a bar end on a sapling and went down/into the woods pretty hard. Knee to rock, Head/Ear to another sapling and I had to start all over getting my rhythm back. Luckily things loosened back up and the rest of the race went a bit better.
I was able to get on the wheel of a local for awhile and I had a blast...nothing like following someone who knows all the lines through the super technical spots. Passed a SS'er on the last lap and ended up coming in 7th of 10 starters. Took 3 minutes off my time at Fort Rock from last year and I beat Adam. Granted he had some drivetrain issues and hasn't been racing much this year but I'll take it haha.
My 7th place finish got me enough points to stay in second in the overall standings, but not by much. I am going to need to muster some serious speed at the next race (and possibly have some people not show up) if I want to keep that spot. The two guys threatening are very fast and I have a feeling at least one of them is going to show for the next two races and I'm only planning on doing 1 of them. Only time will tell.