If there is such a thing as home course advantage then it happened on Sunday. I love the Firecracker course for two reasons 1) it’s fast and full of lung blazin fun and 2) it is a simple 15 minute warm-up ride from my front door. Seriously, this race is right out my back door. I had high expectations going into this race and anything less would have made for a bad day.
From the moment Don yelled GOOOOOO I was off and focused on the guy/girl ahead of me. The whole race I made every effort to stay focused and ride with intensity. The start was fast as expected. I wanted to stay towards the front and conserve until we hit the single track. I hit the single track in the top ten and began my work from there.
During the first lap we started to hit traffic and found ourselves working to pass some of the elite women and 50+ men. By the second lap we were deep into traffic and actually came to a stand still in two spots. Tempers were getting high but in the end everyone kept their cool and focused on riding a safe race. I would get passed here and there but would find myself passing those same riders in the single track so I kept my cool. By the end of the second lap I had worked myself up to the top five and could see the leaders during the open field sections.
The best part of the race the Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde which was advertised as a “rock garden.” I would say it was more like a “rock fountain.” The section was tough and you basically could flip a coin as to whether it was faster to run the bike thru or ride the bike thru. I opted for riding and only made it through on top of my bike once.
By the third lap I was feeling the cramps coming on and the heat was beginning to take its toll on me. I switched from attack mode to survival mode knowing that I was in the top five of my age and just hoping that I was cracked the top twenty. I finished strong and really blew away my expectations. I finished 16th over all and I got to stand on the WORS podium for the first time for my age. I got a sweet medal that I pretty sure I can pawn on ebay for about $10. We’ll see.
It was a great race and I’m feeling pretty good with where I’m at. Races like this really fuel the fire and help with the training during the times when the seasons starts to feel long. I have some work to do but I like where I’m at. Brothers wedding is next weekend but I’m looking forward to an August packed with races and family time. Thanks for the support and see you on the other side of the single track.