The course was great, the weather was great and I felt great, at least until the dry heaves at the end of my sprint for 7th.
The course. Very, very nice. A bit of a narrow start then right into, as Elora would say "the bump bumpy Mc bumpertons." Nice technical turns, then into a single barrier with a creek jump. Some more technical turns, then onto pavement, hairpin, back the other way on the pavement, right hander onto the grass, cruise around and into the sandpit. Rideable. Out of the pit, around some more then some nice click-up-through-the gears power sections. Around, double barriers up-hill run-up and around to the start.
I did my warm-up with 36 psi and crashed hard in one of the corners before the pavement. So I took a few pds. out. Definitely the lowest I've raced on yet.
The start. Call ups. 4th. Get a good spot. Have some difficulty getting back clipped in, can't get my left in. With 30 secs to go, switch to my right foot clipped in first, instead of my left. God damn egg beaters. I am seriously considering pitching these things. But I digress. Calm down Jim... Riders GO! Left foot takes me 3 pedal strokes to clip in. I fall back to about 15th or so. Roman got the hole shot. SWEET!
O.k. not so bad, don't panic. I can move up. Just stay up, pass when I can.
The race. Settle in a groove, no, my groove. Straight, brake, turn, accelerate, repeat. First 2 times through the sand I was good, but got knocked down by other riders. That's racing. Get up, get the bike, run. The run-up was fine and a good place to pass. The rest of the time through the sand was fine, strong, just pedal. I'm just trying to move up when I can. I can see 30 and 40+ riders ahead so I just focused on catching up to the next one in front of me, passing, repeat.
Eventually I settled in with a Mack rider and with 3 to go (I think) we rode together. Lombardo from the 30+ came around us at the start line with 2 to go, so now we only had 1 to go. I yelled up to the Mack rider that we should try to stay with him. He asked if we still had 2 to go and I said no, we all finish with him so we both gunned it. An ABD rider was just in front of us. When you think you have 2 to go and then there's only 1... what do you have to lose: full gas. Coming up to the sand I wanted a clear line so I came around Mack and hit it hard. We're gaining on ABD as we come into the straighter and faster parts of the course. We hit the pavement and ABD is right in front of us, Mack on my wheel. As we approach the barriers I hear a voice yelling behind me "Go Jim, get him on the run-up, you can catch him!" The voice does not stop all the way through the barriers and down to the finishing straight. I catch ABD at the top of the run-up, pass on the remount and hold through the last turn and get out of the saddle and sprint with everything my legs have left. Finish ahead of ABD and Mack and then a few dry heaves to confirm that everything I had was left on course.
I later found out the voice was Lou who had made it up to us on his last lap.
Tire pressure must have been fine since I didn't wash out and I could feel the rear rim on some of the roots, although I was a bit tentative in some of the turns after crashing on the warmup.
The result. 7th. I was 5th, but after talking with some of the other racers, that didn't seem right. We did kind of group protest and I got moved down 2. No worries.