Last year this race was awful. The race this year was better....but the course was still brutal. I drove up Friday night and camped in Glen and Ali's yard. Slept like a rock! Woke up before the alarm and took the tent down. Loaded the bike back up and headed up to Boyne.
9:00am: arrival, got butterflies when I saw the ski hill on the way in.
9:15am: get registered and start looking around for everyone I know. Head to the car to change, line at the bathroom too long...as usual.
9:30am: head out to warm up. Warren rode up and we did a quick out and back while discussing his knee issues. It held up for him and I believe he took 3rd.
10:00am Expert riders start....Talking to Dave....trying to figure out how many in my class....
10:10 (or so) Brent calls up the old (not sure on age group) beginners and then the cyldes. We step to the start line and I am guaranteed podium. Only 3 of us. Brian, who is faster than me, Dave, and myself. Dave and I are evenly matched so I knew it was going to be a fun day!
Time goes out the window now. The start was slow. We just formed a line and started down the trail. There was very little separation until the first climb. When Dave and I got to the top we both knew it was going to be a long day.
Second climb......struggle. Third climb.....struggle. Get the picture? Here is where I started to think back to last year. Were the climbs really this hard? Were there really no flats? Begging for a downhill I trudged onward and upward. Eventually reaching the paved cart path. Climbing legs be my friend. My road riding paid off a little here as I was able to spin the cart path to the top. Not fast...but still made it. On my way down the back side of the ski hill I saw Dave on the cart path. At least I think it was him.
Now the downhill. Wanting to rock it...but unable to. Too tight, technical, tough. I did well....just staying upright. Some people were crashing and we ran down one section because it was so steep and nasty. Onto the flat, I paced a guy back to finish area and headed out for my second lap. Danielle thankfully handed me another bottle and off I went for lap two....comfortably in second. Brian was long gone.
Lap two....well....it sucked. I was out of gas and the climbs just kept coming. Then I heard Jon....COME ON SEAN.....he was on his third lap just ripping along. I pounded my last two gels and just kept going.....thinking that Dave was gaining the whole time.
I got to the last downhill and just let it go. Go....speed. As fast as I could go without crashing. Cleared the steep section and was feeling fairly confident. Got to the last flat section and gave it all I had left. Crossed the finish line for my highest place ever....a hard earned 2nd. Dave had to abandon because he wasn't feeling well. I feel bad about that because we have a nice competition going on!
2nd. Doesn't matter if there were only 3 of us......only 3 of us were brave (or stupid) enough to do this damn race.
Next up.....Holland 100.....what have I gotten myself in to?