Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jungle Habitat State Championship Race

Today was a great opportunity for some power to be laid down and a race with a lot at stake. Beside being another of the 8 H2H races, it was also the State Championship and a key race in the overall series. As I was waking up and making breakfast this morning I peered out the window to see what a magnificent day it was. It was truly nice out - almost a little warm at race time.

So as we roll to the line 17 of us were there to contest the State Championship title and one one would do it. As the gun went off I hit it hard and was wondering how my legs would respond as they were a little stagnant in my warmup but that was never an indication that worried me. I hit it hard and jumped immediately into 2nd. Through the first lap a lead group of 4 or 5 quickly snapped off the front. I was in 2nd then 3rd, then 4th, then 3rd. As lap two started, my teammate Brian in front of me was unfortunaately having cleat issues and had to pull over. So now I was in 2nd. At some point during that lap I passed another teammate not in my category and just as I did I showed him how to endo and cut myself up. I did this all without unclipping and unclipped, ran, and just kept on it. I blew through a few more turns unexpectedly as the rocks were just throwing off my line but by the end of lap 2 I knew what the game was. Catch Foco...

So at the start of lap 3 I could see Roger who was in 1st place now just ahead on the twisty section but I knew he had a minute gap already. Time to put it down and gap up to him. I hit every section hard and was on the verge of that crampy feeling. I ignored it and pressed harder. I did fumble a bit on Animal Chute and had to run a corner and then decided to nut myself with my stem all in one motion so that took the wind out of my sails for a second. But I recovered well and pressed on to keep the gap I had and keep the gap down in front of me. Part of me was hoping Roger would fade or have a mechanical but not so. He just rode steady and strong and faster than me.

I came around the last corner all alone and stood and crossed the line in 2nd. I didn't know by how much or how little but the look at the results later told me. Just under 3 minutes behind Roger and then 2+ minutes back to 3rd place. A really solid finish and one that also gave me 2nd place in the State Championship - the top 3 finishers were all from NJ - and even better it gave me the overall win for the series. What a nice feeling. With one more race to go it's all locked up already.

I've done 4 races now since I've been back from my blood clot and although I've had fun and done pretty well I don't think I've had that killer mindset on the third lap. Today was definitely different. My mind was in kill mode from the start. It wasn't on moderating, or being careful it was locked in on how many corpses I could create. It was nice to be back and really ride well - besides the endo. So I'm totally satisfied with the outcome and really amazed that I bounced back to well to win the series.

The only question now is what to do with the Ringwood weekend. Race my usual cat and try to win the last one or is it time to try the Pro/Cat1 race... Decisions...decisions...

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