I went into the first race of the H2H race series today with a few questions to be answered. How was my recovery going from the Cohutta 100 last weekend? How well would I deal with the rocks and techy nature of Waway as it's one of the roughest courses that will be seen? And finally how well would my body deal with the 90+ degree heat? It would all be played out soon enough. On my preride I knew it was going to be tough as I rode for almost 40 minutes and blew through a bottle easily. I ran back to the car to grab any fluids I could and got it setup for the race.
I wanted today to be a nice hard training day. I'm placing more of my emphasis on being disciplined and really putting my efforts at the 100's. So this would be a nice opportunity to get a good workout in. If I happen to place well - then that would be nice. Upon looking at the preregistration I knew it would be a tough race as there were a lot of familiar names - and mostly familiar since they always finish ahead of me. So in the heat of the day we got called to line up and here's how it played out.
I started in row 3 - not worried too much since it would be a long race. Off of the first climb I got through a few and settled into the first singletrack in 7th spot. I just wanted to ride it clean. For the most part I did just that. As the lap went on I got a few here or there as the lines opened up on the fireroads and the power just wanted to be put down. I moved up well and just rode solid. At the end of the first lap I was sitting in 2nd or 3rd position. I lost count.
After that the rest was a blur. On lap 2 I pretty much held my spot and rode alone until I saw a random 19-29 rider or some of the pro's falling back. I felt good and was happy to be riding solidly and was hoping to keep the gaps that I opened up during lap 1. I ate, drank, and popped some more endurolytes in preparation for the pain that was to come on the 3rd lap.
On lap 3 I knew I was starting to fade a bit but I needed to keep on it. The one sure thing that I have learned is that you can NEVER let up in CAT1. There will always be someone there to steal your lunch if you do. So I kept it up and rode one more solid lap and put it down where I could. I came across the line happy with it to be over. It was a long hard race.
I think I finished in 2:36 in 2nd place, and couldn't believe it. I knew I was doing well but I really can't believe I did that well. There were a lot of strong riders out there but I think the heat just got the better of a bunch. Either way I'll take it. What a great day and a great dry race. It could have been a little cooler though :-)