The lead out at the Crystal Lake Classic in Rhinelander Wisconsin is a sandy road for about a mile into a holeshot of single-track. With a call up I just made sure to stay up front and save everything for the holeshot. I jumped for the holeshot a bit early but the pace was so chill I figured if I ramped up the speed enough no one would come through. I hit it pretty hard I guess because everyone I read and talked to said the pace went crazy right there.
Leading a WORS race is a bit intimidating at times, especially early in the year with as much talent as had showed up to Rhinelander, so I didn't work too hard as to go into the red and be counter attacked by someone. After a few sections of single-track I looked back and seven had made the initial break, Me, B. Matter, Tristan, B. Eppen, Mike Anderson, Tyler Gauthier, and Ben Koenig. I punched it up every climb to keep anyone from just sitting on and made sure to use the single track skills to make em work, even though I did lay it down once while leading...
By the end of the lap it was just me, B. Matter, and Tristan. On the flat road sections we fed and took it somewhat easy, knowing this course is hard on ya and a race of attrition in many ways. 2nd lap we started trading the lead a bit, but I did a lot of work.
3rd lap Matter went to the front going into the single track with a blazing pace. I held on and Tristan slowly disappeared.
Brian gave a nudge of the elbow to come through in between some single-track sections and I was like "no way man, your killing me". He got me to work the road section on the last lap though and we started seeing a lot of lap traffic. Going into the single-track Matter took over and did almost the exact thing as lap 3. I was fine till a bobble and a lapped rider formed a very small gap going into a climb about half-way through the lap , Matter gunned the climb and I could not close it . His advantage grew to about 50 seconds at the finish, so he was flying! 2nd on the day is an awesome result though, shows that my goal of contending for the overall is not out of reach. Maybe next time I will play it a bit smarter on workload and be more aggressive when I am feeling good, this is a good confidence builder for that kind of stuff.
My favorite thing about this picture has nothing to do with the podium. Man that just wins my heart, when ya show love to what I love most!
Here is a little post race interview with a cameo by Asa.
Thanks for Reading,
Photo/Video Credit: Dave Reich, Amy Dykema, John Senkerik, Connor Mccoll, Kelli Piotrowski, Claire Cannon