Mookie to the rescue!
I was really looking forward to this race last year, and was bummed I had to miss it. I didn't think I was going to do it this year being outside the radius and all, until Mookie offered to give a lift.
The family got to got to MV for 4 days and 3 nights so maybe Charlie can go to VT for the day...
(much like Pantani or Riccò, Charlie is speaking of himself in the third person).
Due to heavy rain all week, we had to park about a mile from the race course. Not too much of a problem, we just loaded my backpack with what we needed and used it as a pre-ride. Before we headed out Alex asked if I had my license. I replied "I never get carded, and they're making us park a mile away from the venue, they won't need our licenses". Sure enough, first thing they asked at registration "Can we see your license"?
A little Charlie sweet talk (very little needed because we are in VT and people in VT are really nice), and she turned a blind eye to my negligence.
There were only a half dozen singlespeeders, so they sent us off with the juniors.
Adam gets the holeshot, and I'm making my way up the right side, where I am suddenly chopped by one of the juniors.
Argh! You little whippersnapper!
First muddy section of the first descent Choppy crashes, and I'm in forth behind two juniors and Adam.
I out maneuver the second place junior in the singletrack and have Adam in my sights.
On Heartbreak Hill (HH) he's off the bike. I somehow manage to grind it out and catch and pass him. But he's a stronger descender so he's on me like white on rice. As I try and skirt around a trail engulfing puddle I crash, opening the door for Adam to take the lead.
We finish the lap together, but as we descend from the start finish line Adam starts to open it up. On the switchbacks we can get glimpses of one another, but he's gradually pulling away from me.
On the third lap, glimpses are getting few and far between, until we get to HH. When I get there, he's about 2/3rds of the way up it and about to dismount for the miserable mud slog. I know I can't catch him here, but if I try and stay on the bike longer on everything maybe I might have a chance to pull him back.
Lap 4 I'm really trying to hang it out on the descents. I need to minimize any time Adam is gaining here. It's working as I'm getting closer to him on the switchbacks. I know I need to get to the top of HH before him for any chance at the win. I round the corner (to HH), and he's about half way up it. I pedal up to the mud, hoping I can pull him back, but he's back on the bike and over the top.
As I get to the last hill on the course, Cemetery Hill, Adam is hiking it. I'm riding it, but he's out of reach and crosses the line 25 seconds in front of me.
I cross the line and fall on the ground. I always think when I see XC ski racers do this they are just being over dramatic. I meant it (I'm sure they do too).
Every time I go to Vermont, I always come away with how much I like it. Beautiful country, great hills, and the people are so nice. A woman overheard me asking if there was a place to get cleaned up after the race and 5 minutes later came up to me with a hand drawn map and directions. How nice is that?
I wish Vermont was in Connecticut.
We never made it to the the destinations on the map because we found a close by stream. I love how bike races can make people abandon all modesty.
And speaking of mud (don't you hate when a sentence begins with a conjunction?), the conditions caused carnage. Snapped chain, broken cables, and chain suck galore. The course was very rideable, but where the mud was thick it was greasy peanut butter goo.
It was rough out there, but then again, that's part of what makes mountain bike racing so great (says the guy riding the singlespeed).