This race was really Dynamic with tons of position changes, it made it so fun and interesting to race!
Start was fast, like jockey for position with a stampede fast. Mikey P. was definitely on FIRE and took the hole shot up the first climb and kept it pinned over the top of the ski hill into the first single track of the race. Prior to this our roadie friend Ryan Bauman tried grabbing second wheel and his fine road skills ended up giving mike a bit more room than I was comfortable with which I could have closed but with the fire power behind us of Matter, Marko, Eppen in chase I kept it steady but not full on chase. The whole time I had in mind what Mikey actually said to me at the Alterra race" I was just waiting for you to pop". And so I kept myself honest in my efforts, but just hoping Mike might give too much trying to hold onto the Win.
Half way through lap 1 Marko Bridged up and I played a major Noob move dabbing on the switchbacks twice and let Marko get by and to show me how its done as I ran up feeling dumb. This little bit of extra effort after the first lap PUNCH actually put me in trouble and I thought Marko was gonna just ride away when we came by the start finish. He had a gap going into each climb and I saw Matter and Eppen coming on in chase and I knew they were gonna catch. Going up the third climb to the top of that "mountain" I played the ease up card and latched onto the Brian X2 locomotive as I fueled and drank on this blistering day.
Lap 2 it was the four of us taking super fast lines sticking to each others wheels like glue. Lap 3 Matter hit it pretty hard on the first climb and I suffered to stay latched on to the top of the third peak and back down into the single track, but I managed.
Shortly after starting the single track here on lap #3 Eppen FULL ON NAILED a stump or rock with his left pedal directly in front of me and he was completely sideways, in the air, on a downhill section in the single track. Somehow he stayed upright, and I informed him that his bike looked like it stayed together, but very soon after he was on the ground as his bead gave way from the tire.
So I play chase, back to Matter and Marko. We were going at what seemed a comfortable pace. Going into lap 4 I was not exactly sure what lap we were on, it felt like we were out there a really long time! As we started the 1st climb I felt good and the pace did not seem as fast as I could go, so I just used the screaming super fan energy and the goods legs to see what I could do and punched it up all three climbs trying to keep it high-end while not trying to completely blow myself apart. I got a small gap on Marko and Matter but I knew it was not enough to stick. Tried one more time up the climb to the rock garden, but they were right on it again so I kept it steady through the rest of the lap to try and manage my own pain.
Going into the last lap Mikey was in sight and we were ready for battle and then I drop my chain on the steepest part of the second climb. Off the bike and get it back on, try to move as fast as we were and all momentum is gone, DANG IT! Kept it steady hoping to put in some good effort and maybe pull one of three up front back within striking distance. Then my bike starts making really funky noises and my derailleur starts sucking up and chains is going all weird directions under any hard efforts.....
At this point I started talking out loud "OH Please NO NOT NOW!" and "Cmon just make it to the end" mixed with a prayer or two for help just to finish. I started thinking about how much track was left to run my bike at this point, if it came to that, and what the time gaps were to those chasing....
Tried not to shift much, kept it in a low gear and just spun like mad. Lost two minutes on Marko in that last lap, who ended up taking the Win, congrats man! Don't know if I could have matched that, but it would have been nice to find out.
After the race I figured the noises and slight chain suck must have been just rear der. issues. I packed the bike up, got awards and celebrated with some Qdoba's.
Today I get to Wheel and Sprocket telling the guys about the race and checking out the rear Der., when my main man Derek goes "I think I might see something wrong" in a some what astonished and sarcastic voice.
HMMM, HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN???? I would like to assume its just raw power but cmon?!
So I am very happy with this result and it was really fun going back and forth with Mike, Marko, Matter and Eppen. Thanks to those guys for a fun ride.
Huge thanks to Lindsay, Asa, Kiley (sorry if spelling is wrong) and Charis for being the ultimate water crew and family!
Mr. Tree and Gpa Jaws both made appearances as human super soaker's, which was appreciated beyond words into the depths of my boiling over sun drenched skin.
Next up Fall Color Festival and hopefully the next time you see us it won't be 4, but 5 Guerra's all packed into the wanna be Mr. Tree Racing team car/mini-van!
Thanks for reading!
Photo Credit to TJ Harron, and Derek Slates