All I can say about MNSCS #1 is that it felt more like a road race than a mountain bike race. I rode in the front pack of 8 riders for the entire race. Sometimes it was fast, most of the time it was like a tempo road ride. There were a few attempts by others to break away from the pack, but all were futile. I never even got the opportunity to be at the front to try to get away...I don't know that I could have anyway. With the course being single track except through the start/finish and only having about 10 feet of climbing per lap, separation and passing just didn't happen.
In the last few hundred meters, Paul, Chris and I had broken away a little...I think we were all in our biggest gears. Paul nipped Chris on the line and I took 3rd. Paul and Chris had the EXACT same time (to the tenth of a second) and I was .1 seconds back. Our bikes were all overlapping as we crossed the line...I have never experienced a finish like this in a mountain bike race. Ben finished strong in 7th place. He too rode with the lead pack the entire race.
I don't know what changed but this race had a much different dynamic than last year where Chris and I each rode home solo for second and third behind Doug.
I am neither happy nor disappointed with the result today. It is what it is, and it is not what it is not;)