I won my race today! That makes two wins in a row. My goal was to keep up with the pros and see how long I could hang at their pace, but they were flying way too fast for me to hold on. However, my finish time wasn't too far off. I even bested my time from the last race by three minutes. I finished the day 9th overall, some 10 minutes off the best time, which was set by a high school kid. I felt solid, and my bike performed flawlessly.
The day started out grey and chilly. We left the city with more than enough time for me to pick up my race packet and warm up. My friend David also showed up to race. It's always nice to see a familiar face line up next to you.
I had a great start, lining up at the front line. I was next to a pro, whom I raced with at Old Caz a while back. The countdown was quick and we were off. I held my position for most of the flat section before we hit single track. Then the group immediately started to stretch out. I knew I would be chasing a lead group of pros, but wanted to make sure I was positioned well within my respective age group. Into the first lap it was just me and a younger expert racer. We were quickly joined by that high school racer who just dropped us and never looked back.
I had my nutrition and hydration dialed in, feeling great through all four laps. By lap three I needed to toss my riding glasses to my wife. In one swift motion I said to her "Glasses.", tossed them into the air, and she caught them. Everyone around her was thoroughly impressed apparently. We make a great team.
I traded positions with one other racer for most of the race. I'd bridge up to him on the flats and uphill only to be caught on the downhill coming back into our successive laps. I managed to drop him on the last lap. So I thought. With less than a mile left I look back and see him charging hard. It was quite the effort, but I dug deep and managed to hold him off. We weren't in the same age category, but it didn't stop me from pushing. It's a race, right?
I finished in two hours, four minutes and 54 seconds. My Open once again proved itself more than race worthy. I felt so fast every lap, and found it effortless to just stand up and mash. It carved every corner with precision and rocked all the rock gardens and technical sections.
We stuck around for the awards ceremony and made sure that my race standing was legit. Last time we left soon after the race was done, only to find out I had won via the website. It's the first time I got to stand on the top step of a podium as a Cat. 1 racer. I felt so accomplished and proud of all the hard work I've put in over the past couple of years. I'm looking forward to seeing how I do later in the season, hoping I can maintain my high fitness level.
A special thanks to my wife for being the best crew possible as well as a great event photographer, not to mention keeping our dog, Marlow, happy and safe as everyone passed by.