Early Start to the day, up at 5:30 hoping to be out the door, at 6 am for what I was told by Goupil was a 9 am start. Wound up getting out the door around 6:20 and then plugged in the GPS and it said the trip would be 2.5 hours! I had planned on 2. I hit the road and drove as quickly as I could keeping in mind that it's Memorial Day weekend, and the cops would be out in force.
I wound up getting there at like 8:20, about 30 minutes ahead of the estimated arrival time, I ran over and got my number, and started looking for Chirp and Eric to go warm up. They end up pulling in next to me about 5 minutes later, and telling me to chill out it starts at 9:30. They told me 9 so I'd be there in time to warm up!
So we got in a nice 3 mile warm up, heading out with the contingent of mostly CMS guys. Fun chatting it up with everyone. Changed into flats and went down to wait for the start. I was pretty nervous down there, and really just wanted the race to get started, but it was taking forever.
Finally they line us up and then the gun goes off with in seconds. I had planned on trying to be pretty aggressive today, and wanted to go for it. I got out pretty well on that first mile, in about 4th or 5th place until Tivo and Callahan came up on me, I tried to go with them when they went by, but was also trying to be somewhat careful about not blowing my race out on the hill. So they ended up running away on that climb and I just focused on trying to get up. When we turned onto the single track, I wanted to try and close some ground on the guy that was in front of me. I didn't recognize him, and as I kept trying to close the gap I was wondering "who is this guy?" I never caught him, and then when we hit Balance Rock Rd, he just continued to pull away from me. Dunham passed me as soon as we got off the single track too, I focused on trying to relax and just run with Dave. When we hit the single track again my legs were burning, but Dave looked like he was slowing so I went by him. Turns out he was being smart, as soon as the trail leveled out a bit he went by me again, and I just tried to stay close.
When we came out off the single track, it really took me a minute to get rolling again, and I must have slowed down way too much, because by the time I got around the corner Dave was way ahead of me. I spent the rest of the hill trying to close on Dave, and I was able to make up a bit more room, but not enough to make any difference. Downhill's aren't really my strong suit, but I was pretty happy that I didn't get passed on the downhill like I have the past two years.
As soon as I hit the single track I slowed down quite a bit just cause the rocks were wet, and that trail is ridiculous. It didn't take long for Brian Ruhm who was behind me to catch up but, that was enough to get me to throw caution to the wind and start racing that trail, rather than trying to survive it. I started leaping boulders and throwing myself down that trail, anything but be passed! It was a lot of fun, I love that section, and it's way more fun when you've got someone pushing you on it. Not many races where you get that rush of knowing that you'll be hurt if you mess up at all. I held off Brian but I really had to work to do it, and I came through the line sprinting, with him 5-10 yards behind maybe.
It felt great, a really solid effort, I finished 9th in 32:01. about 2 minutes faster than last year and about 12 spots higher for my finish. Felt like I raced really hard, and had a quality result.
Finished up and had a nice cool down with Eric and Chirp, recounting our races, and catching up. At the awards I got a neat shoulder bag, made from recycled plastic bottles and loaded up on free Polar soda. That Cape Cod Cranberry flavor is delicious!