After the Amphibious Assault on Saturday, I got up Sunday and drove to Oilville for Camp Hilbert #2 and my second ever expert vet race. Got a nice warm-up and went to the start ready to roll. The speed from the get go was crazy fast and I entered the singletrack in the bottom third of the field, right where I belong. I tried to stay on the wheel of the guy in front of me, but meter by meter the gap grew until I could only glimpse him in front of me and I lost him for good around the 3-mile mark. I could hear IF rider MRussell, right behind me, which inspired me to greater turns of speed. (It was nice to meet Mr. Russell, finally).
All three pics are from AndreWelch.com and his Camp Hilbert gallery. He got a bunch of pics of me for some reason. I’m not complaining. Thanks, in fact.I came through the first lap in just under 31 minutes, which was truly flying for me, and with Mr. Russell right on my wheel. I hit it again when I went back into the singletrack and created a little gap and passed a few enduro riders. After a while I was alone. One nice thing about racing expert vet is the utter absence of traffic. The experts and faster vets are well in front of you and almost no one is coming up on you. It’s just you and the sweet trails, rolling and banking, dropping and climbing, flying over the roots and trying not to touch the brakes. (My mentor told me to count to three before hitting them and frequently you’ll have rolled out of the trouble you thought you were in. Thanks, Chad.)
Feeling awesome, the second lap ticked by in a hair over 31 minutes. I didn’t think I could keep it up, but about two miles into the last lap I saw another rider in front of me, well in front of me. Nothing like a rabbit to chase. I gained on him on every climb, but he’d hold his own on the flats and downhills. With less than a mile to go, I finally caught him and tried to go by hard, but the effort put me completely in the red zone. I overshot a turn at the bottom of a short downhill and he squirted by. I couldn’t catch back up through the hummocks and he beat me by 20 seconds or so.
I came in 14th, turning in another sub-31 minute lap for a total time of 1:32.48. That’s 14 minutes faster than I raced the same course in the opposite direction back in March, so I’m not complaining about my placing. Don’t know as I’ll ever stand out in this fast crowd, but it certainly pushes me and I have all kinds of respect for the top guys. The winner turned a time of just under 1:24, and accidentally did a 4th lap at the same pace! Yikes.
My teammate Marco made it up with his family. His kids raced and had a good time in the kids’ race. And Marco came in 7th in sport vet.
Once again it was another good race put on by Mark Junkerman of RunRideRace. Thanks Mark and the rest of your crew.