Initially this race wasn't part of my "program", but after Domnarski Farm I really didn't want to wait until July to try and redeem myself.
I was a little put off by the venue change; I enjoyed the brutality of the old Putney course. But upon pre-riding I started to think maybe change was good. The Grafton Pond course is the most fun course I have ridden. It gives you a decent amount of climbing, but broken up in bite size pieces connected by flowing ribbons of singletrack with just enough open section to afford passing.
At the start there were the usual suspects, but also a man wearing a full faced helmet. Let's call him Zorro.
The whistle blows and Zorro takes off like a bat out of hell. I guess he didn't get the memo about me getting the holeshot?
Who is this masked man?
His gap is holding but it's not growing.
After about a 1/4 of a lap it is apparent Zorro has shot his wad and on a technical singletrack climb I make my move.
When there is a switch back I can see what gap I have on them is not growing. Fortunately there is more climbing so I start throwing more coal on the fire to try and get out of sight.
It seems to be working, but I've also almost finished my first bottle. I made a choice before the race to put 1 bottle in Fearless Leader's bottle stand instead of setting up Bottlestand 2000 with 2 bottles for myself. This might come back and bite me on the assos.
Nearing the end of the first lap we come out into a field. I feel my rear tire start to rumble and vibrate. Oh fook!
Am I flatting again?
Should I stop and check it out?
I decide to keep riding it until I can't ride it anymore.
Second lap is more efforts to get out and stay out of sight. I'm starting to reel in age groupers which helps me keep my pace going. Near the end of the lap I start feeling sort of clumsy. I finish my bottle and look forward to picking up a fresh one. I also realize my tire is fine; I'm riding in tractor tire tracks!
The bottle is going down quickly. I'm starting to get chills and I figure the best way to deal with this is to hydrate.
I start looking for free speed. I try and take advantage of anywhere I can get speed with out actually working for it. "Can I make it through these rocks without braking? Well let just see shall we?" I try and pump the woops, preserving every mph possible.
Start of the forth lap my second bottle is almost gone. I take a plastic cup of water hand-up to try and stretch my resources, but 10 minutes in I'm completely out.
Now I'm getting chills and tunnel vision. This song is running through my head. Have I done enough to not get caught? It's only about 20 minutes more of riding, can I keep it going that long?
It's been a long time.
I needed that.