The MNSCS #2, Afton Avalanche, was a 24 mile bruiser of a course w/ 5000-6000 feet of climbing thrown in, and the median finishing time for the experts was over 2 hours and 40 minutes....good preparation for Mt. Snow.
The race started out up a small-ish hill (but big enough) to allow for "natural" selection. The Velo crew hit it hard of the start.
I got the hole shoot at the top of the first hill, and just kept it a at a good hard pace. To my surprise I was gapping the rest of the field. I wasn't trying to attack, as I knew it would be a long race to try and go solo from the start. However, by the top of Shady Lane (the first of several time each lap you fully climb the hill) I had 20 seconds or so on Ben, and I wasn't under too much pressure so I pushed it on the punchy climbs and technical descending portions of the trail. The gap continued to open and was nearly a minute by the end of the lap. After that, I just set a maintainable climbing pace and rode fast and smooth on the downhills. By the third lap, I had nearly 3 minutes on Ben and Jeff Herrera (who was up from Arizona), but my legs started to get crampy...I HATE that. There was lots of power left in them, but was unable to use it because they were freezing up...darn! I tried a different drink mix for the race and will be going back to my tried and true double top secret formula next time. I rode a pretty slow 4th lap knowing that I had time to spare. In the end, I had a little over 1.5 minutes on Ben. He rode a really strong race and a very strong last lap.
Fisher suffered a flat but hung with it...here he on a typical Afton decent.Tegan and others provide a great cheering section. If you hear a little voice saying "go, go, go" by the water stand, that was him=) Jen said that he cheered for everyone!
Thanks to Bruce at Skinny Ski for all the pics (except the one of Tegan..that was Jen)
Next up is Buck on Thursday and maybe the WORS Cup on Saturday. I hear the WORS Cup course is a fun one...the only down side would be that I have to start in the second row.