It was a fun race last weekend. Probably lots of people with some nice sunburn/color like myself today from an amazing day. I don't think Wawayanda has EVER been that dry. It was dusty and powdery in sections. I had a decent day. I didn't feel super but I didn't feel horrible. Well I did a little from the start. As expected we took off down the gravel road for the start and made the right onto the waway entrance road and eyes were bleeding already. Strung out single file we made our way into the singletrack and my legs just didn't want to go. I drifted backwards and just hung in there hoping my legs would get better. I kept people in sight but it was just hard to get going. It didn't help that the race went off 20 minutes late letting everyone's legs get cold again.
So anyway I kept on my pace and one by one started to either reel people in or pass people with mechanicals. First Szymon was having difficulties, then Rich W with a flat, then a few others with issues, then past Ilya, and worked my way up to Joe P. By the end of lap 1 I put in a good effort to close on sitting bear and I past Joe on the downhill to the start/finish and started lap 2 feeling better and wishing there were 5 more to go. So as I pass Joe he tells me Lombardo is just ahead so he is my new target. I tracked him down and he said he was going to try and hold my wheel, but I didn't want that. So I put in a hard effort and shed him. By Jim's bridge I was opening up a nice gap but then I ran into a walker on the bridge that wouldn't run and wouldn't clear the path. I had to slowly roll behind him as he was walking on the bridge and then dismount and run around him. This was perfect for Joe as he closed the gap as I was waiting for this guy to move. So with Joe hot on my heels I put down a good pace and just tried to keep him behind me. I got back to him in sitting bear so that's where the race was. Keep him behind and then open it up in sitting bear.
Through the new stuff I could hear Joe behind, and not very far behind so he was riding very well. He's never one I'll take lightly as he can be very fast when he decided to throw down. We got to the rock choke in the trees and I fumbled and I hear Joe yell from behind, "I saw that, I'm coming!" so I messed that up and I bobbled on another section just after that letting Joe get right behind me again. But as I know that trail very well, I hit each of the remaining hills hard and kept the rocky stuff as smooth as possible and crossed the line around 30 seconds ahead of him. It was great having someone so close as it motivated me to keep pushing and was really a lot of fun.
I finished 9th of 17 starters and put in a decent effort with a full extra big lap at the end to extend my day and use it for my training goals. I finished in the money on a beautiful day so I'm pretty happy. When I look at results too the other characters that I'm usually behind were only 3 minutes ahead so I'll take that margin. Let's just forget about Seamus and Christian that were 10 minutes ahead...and Seamus on a full suspension SS. Really.