I almost called it when I woke up Sunday morning listening to a downpour come down on the skylight in the bedroom. Turns out it was raining much harder at home than it was in Newport and things were looking okay at the venue. Course was wet enough to be real slick but not wet enough to be really muddy and I can deal with that...more than deal actually, flat out ENJOY.
Things started off with a mass start, all experts at once, which I used to think I hated but I am starting to think I like mass starts better because the traffic issues that they create actually allow me to get warmed up a bit slower and I am able to keep pace better but at the same time there are tons of traffic issues and technically there were some spots where I was getting held up. I did manage to make 4-5 hilarious passes all at once though which was fun. I have ridden this course a few times and I have raced SS long enough now to know that there is no shame in running sometimes. There was a headwall of sorts on the first portion of the 1st lap where there is almost always a bottleneck and especially so with a mass start. I knew it was there and knew I wouldnt be able to sit and spin it and with no room to get up and hammer I planned on jumping off and running up the 'bad line'. Worked great, and I ran right past 4-5 guys spinning their grannys. I think one guy even got a little mad, like I was breaking the rules or something.
Sticking with the theme from last race...I am 90% sure I am the sliver of helmet and shoe behind the second guy in the pink jersey. Slipstream! Shake and Bake!
The singletrack was actually riding kinda nice. The roots and rocks were very slick but the dirt was actually a bit tacky. The rest of the climbing was how it usually is, leg breaking and slow especially with things as slick as they were. I was forced to try and stay in the saddle to keep weight over my rear wheel turning most of the climbs into the equivalent of a hardcore session of squats in the gym. Suffice it to say, there were a few times that my GPS unit thought I wasn't moving. I did manage to 'ride' most everything though minus a few techy spots on some climbs and the suffering was all worth it. I've said it before and I'll say it again...I would climb 15 miles straight up just to be able to ride the down at the Pinnacle. SO MUCH FUN. And I think I might even like it better when its slick.
1st time down kinda sucked because I had some less confident riders in front of me but laps 2 and 3 were perfect, no one immediately in front of me I had the lines pretty much figured out and the slickness added just enough to make it really interesting. Didn't crash once although I lost count of all the hail mary's.
Here is the hard data:
As you can see this is my first 'real' podium in the SS Class. In the past I have pulled some top 3's but that was usually due to there only being 3 people racing. This time around I actually put up a pretty strong time and was only 2 minutes out of 2nd place. I snagged a sweet bronze medal for my efforts as well that will be hanging in the manarea. I am pretty proud of how far I have progressed in about 3 years time and I'm looking forward to my coming endurance races. New challenges...