Spirit Mt (MNSCS #6) was a great way to reintegrate into Midwest racing...it felt like we never left Vermont. Well, it is a little different. The course is much tighter and twistier but has just as many or more rocks, and the main 700 foot climb is about 2/3 rocky rooty singletrack....down right dreamy. The entire race was only 2 laps, but there was 1300 feet of tough climbing per lap.
They started us right on the hill, which made for a cluster at the start, but I got out front chasing down my teammate, CHARLY TRI, who got the holeshot (he REALLY wanted me to mention him in my blog, so tell him how cool he is next time you see him). I slipped on the first sharp turn on the lead out hill, but quickly remounted...sorry to those who I hindered.
I caught back on by the top and Jay, my bro and I followed Scotty Kylander Johnson all the way through the first lap. He built much of the trail and there is probably no one faster than him descending it. At the start of the 2nd lap, Ben and I had a little gap, but Scott and Samo (who caught Scott on the climb) closed it down to about 20 seconds on the descent.
Ben got hung up on some rocks when we started the climb causing me to dismount. My calves locked up, and it took 5-10 seconds to get going again. We continued to march on and Samo passed me in the last 1/8th or so of the climb. I just didn't have the climbing legs to hang. I yelled up to Ben that Sam was coming and impressively, he turned it on to hold the gap to Sam. So there it ended, Ben then 10 seconds to Sam then 20 seconds to me.
I am super proud of Ben for riding strong the whole race and it was a well deserved victory. Honestly, the only thing better than me winning was watching my little brother take it home.
As far as how I felt?? Well after my debacling at Vermont I wasn't expecting much. Hydration was a challenge w/ only 1 mid race hand off, but for the most part I stayed cramp free. My descending was just fine, but my power, especially on the climbs, was not very good. On the great to horrible scale, I give the legs and OK on the day=) I am hoping this mid season lull in fitness will allow me to have more late season fitness at my favorite race, Maplelag=)
Next up is our bid for the 4 Man 24 National Championships. Our original team was Paul Hanson, Ben Portilla, Fisher and Myself (my bro thought that he would have already moved to Albany). However, a couple crashes later, Paul has a torn rotator cuff, and Ben P has a broke back (this past weekend; he is in pain but will make a full recovery). Our team has been modified to Ben, Me, Fisher, and SamO.