I spent most of the day Saturday laying around in the AC because the forecasted temperatures and humidity for Sundays Red Wing Muddy River Rock and Roll were stupid hot and sticky. The 6th MNSCS race of the year is my favorite course of the 10 races because it is mostly just fun midwest style single track. There aren't any huge climbs - it is one of the few non-ski hill races.
As it turns out the weather was better than predicted and clouds/light rain hung around until race time keeping the temps in the low 90's (rather than the 100 prediction). The race directors did the right thing by shortening the course just a little; they still had us do 5 laps, but the finishing times were really close to the 2 hour target.
The field was strong but after a quick start, Hollywood lead Fisher, myself, and the rest of the pack into the singletrack. Check out Hollywood racking himself when his pedal slipped out=)
After about 1/2 a lap, it was Fisher, Jay Richards, Jeff Hall and myself. The pace was fast enough to create a separation. At the start of the second lap, Jeff put the hammer down. - Because of the heat, I went into this race with a simple strategy: race my own speed (or slower if I was in the right place) - I didn't try to follow Jeff, but I did pass Jay and Fisher that lap. I just let things flow in the single track and kept the climbing efforts at medium (this picture sure makes me look fast though=).
Going into the fourth lap, I already had 30 seconds or so with Jeff about 2 minutes up on me. By the fifth lap, I had 2 minutes on the chasers and was down 2 minutes as a chaser. That is how it finished. Jay and the energizer bunny (Sam O - because he never slows down) had a sprint finish for 3rd. Jay nipped him by a bike length. Fisher rolled in next. I think he was the sweatiest guy out there=)
All in all, I was happy with my performance. I could have gone harder if it were cooler, but I feel like I raced a smart race. See www.mnscs.com for results, and the pics above are courtesy of www.skinnyski.com.
There is one more Buck Hill race on Thursday then NOTHING until August 13th. I will be recharging the batteries for the end of the season run during the next 3 weekends of no racing.
Before I go, I have to give a shout out to Jenna Zander. She is the new U23 XC National Champion! I look forward to seeing her racing in the Stars and Stripes over the next year.
Thanks for reading!