I didn't have any real high hopes of doing well this race. I had a tough Friday/Saturday as I've been coming down with a cold and lots of congestion. Didn't know how that would play out or if I'd be able to breathe at all. I did all I could to stay hydrated and just keep good thoughts and ignore my sickness. I felt ok but unsure. So with less than optimal sleep Lucky and I headed up to Stewart for 6 hours of goodness.
The race went off with a nice easy start and then ramped it up around the first corner to help get position into the single track. It wasn't a blazing fast start but no one wanted to get bottlenecked. Into the singletrack it was Roger, Monte, Vreeland, and me, followed by 40 something others. We kept on it and had a good train going with the top 10 or so half way through the 1st lap. After the midway point Rog and Monte picked up the pace and I went with them. After a few minutes it was just us 3. We kept a real solid pace but not eyes bleeding. Lap 2 Monte took the lead as Rog and myself stayed in line and cruised the lap. Towards the end of lap 2 Roger faded back a bit and I was riding with Monte. I told him I'd lead lap 3 and just set a steady pace. 5 minutes in I was all alone. I was really eerily cautious as to why both weren't there. Did I miss a turn or something? So I kept on and rolled through lap 4 then lap 5 and towards the end of the lap I hear Roger sneaking up. I knew he was going to attack hard and he did. I couldn't match at that point. I hit the gas but let him go. I was hoping I could ramp it up in the remaining two laps and reel him in but that was to no avail. He was setting a really nice hot tempo and deserved the win. I did all I could to hit the last two laps hard and it was 5 min slower than what I needed to beat him.
All in all what a great day. Hopefully this will be a good indicator as to how the endurance races will go later in the season. It felt great to be on the bike for more than the usual 2 hour xc race. I forgot how much fun and how much pain can be associated with these races.