At the line I was not planning on taking the lead, but everything just kinda clicked when Don said Goooooo and I found myself at the front coming over the top of the initial start climb. I didn't feel like the effort was huge and I felt like I hadn't pushed my max so I just put down a good pace, but nothing put me into the red and I was able to keep the hole shot. After a few turns I realized I had a gap and just rode as smooth and strong as I could to capitalize on it. Going into the alpha trail there is a long flat and I saw no one chasing on it, which was really surprising. I thought heck might as well make it stick for the fifty dollar prime at the top of the ski hill and began to push the redline a bit through the alpha trail. That is when Bambi showed up and I found myself at the front of a WORS race shooing a baby fawn off the trail as it ran in front of me me. Hilariouis! After Bambi skedaddled I began to hear and at times see Mike Phillips coming on strong, which I expected.
I remember riding the night race with him here a few years back and he literally disappeared the second we hit the alpha trail in the dark, the guy can really rip it here! I knew to be looking for him or matter and sure enough as we came out of alpha and began climbing the forever switch back ski hill, Mike was one switchback behind with Matter one switch behind him. All I thought about at this point was the fifty bucks and climbing that thing as hard as I could, the rest would play out as it needed. I came over the other side thinking at least I made some money today, time to go for some more! The wind was crazy on the flat to Omaley's woods and it felt like climbing just to get through the flat. After the descent and back into the lap I started climbing the start finish hill and I felt like the wind was at my back cause I spun near the upper end of my middle ring up it. I knew the climbs were where I was strongest so I just made sure to really push it there and try and grow the gap rather than ride conservative and maybe allow them to bring some time back. The time gap to Mike stayed about the same for the first 2 laps, but going into three on the start finish climb I knew I was really putting time in as the gap there looked way bigger and I couldn't see anyone for a while once I hit the single track. Had quite a bit of adversity to overcome on this lap. I crashed twice, mostly due to the course changing from dust kick up i think or just fatigue. I almost broke my chain getting back on the bike the second time. All the corners were getting very dusty as the race went on, and I found out the hard way that I could not take them quite as fast as I did on the first and second lap. Cramps started to twinge all over and on a descent back in the alpha trail I saw the game change as matter passed mike on the climb I had just ascended. I knew his chase was on and I had to really hold onto a good tempo to keep him from catching me at the end of the race. The cramps actually went away whenever I climbed only to return on the bumpy descents and crazy single track. Speaking of another adversity on lap 3 occurred when I heard a huge tinging noise come from my seatpost area as I sat down on part of the descent and found my seat had become almost vertical from the force of my body push on the back of it. Oh well, at the front of the race with a gap, ride it OUT! Going into lap four I got a wave of relief as I crested the hill and someone said Matter was starting the climb. I made sure to keep my wheels rubber side down and climbed as hard as I could the last time up the switchbacks, again the cramps disappearing there but I was still worried even with a nice gap as I came over the top feeling like the legs might seize up with every bump I hit. On the last descent before the finish climb I think the cramps were so bad that each bump bruised my muscles. Coming up the climb I just spun the legs and high fived someone ( Tony?) over the line amongst a lot of cheers. Christine got a little interview video of the finish here and here. Great pic of the climb to the 50$ prime and race report by WORS (Claire) here. I can't believe how many people congratulated me after the race and the amount of friends and fans who cheered at the awards was overwhelming! The relationships through racing is really what makes this even better than a few seconds on a podium, prize money, or prestige. Thanks soooo much for caring and letting me get to know you all and helping me and every other rider out there to push each other to the limits in this awesome sport!
HUGE THANKS TO: Lindsay for all her Support this Year and amazing hands ups running up and down the hill 7 months pregnant. Family on course, especially Grandpa and Uncle Mykul J. for being in the action at every turn with coaching and pouring water on me. Derek, Matt, and Chad at Wheel and Sprocket in Delafield, hands down best local bike shop I have ever dealt with and most support of racers I have ever witnessed, could not have ridden so well without your help. Mr. Tree himself for being there and supporting me in everything I do in life, YOU ROCK! Gary Fisher bikes and Bontrager for hooking me up with the fastest bike I have ever ridden and the best products I have raced!
Was not planning on going but.....
Now who wants to give me a ride to ore to shore this weekend? And maybe some lodging too?