My right leg was on probation Sunday, at least for the start, as I had two bad starts in a row at Buck with it. The left leg got me off the line quick enough, but I had no intention of trying to lead it up the hill, because if you would have asked me in warm ups how I would do, I would have told you last place. I just was feeling sluggish, and it was tough leaving with my dad for the race because Tegan begged me "Daddy don't go" (he would have been fine if he was coming - he LOVES bike races). This is a tangent, but I am often asked why I don't do more national races, for Daddy's I need not say more.
Anyway, Jack led us into the single track, and after wrapping himself around a tree I took the lead. I rode reasonably hard through the first lap, which put Jesse yo-yoing off the back of SamO, Jack, and I. Up the bottom-to-top climb I took it "easy". I still wasn't feeling snappy so I dropped it down a few gears and rode tempo. The funny part is that the hill gets so steep that the front wheel starts lifting off if you don't lay on the downtube...i.e "easy" is relative.
I think Sam sensed weakness because he punched it over the top and took us down the 50 foot deep whoop (IMBA would NOT approve=) into the singletrack the second time. I wasn't necessarily bluffing at this point, I just was still playing 'em face down. About 1/2 way through that lap I was riding well below the anaerobic zone when Jack pulled a Superman. I got by and chased down Sam. I fully expected Sam to drop me on the next ascent, but he didn't and near the top, I looked over to see him suffering pretty badly. I took my turn leading into the singletrack and quickly formed a gap. I was riding like I was out at Mammoth cruising alone in the woods... nothing fancy, nothing overly aggressive, just riding singletrack.
To my surprise, I continued to pull away and rode it home alone for the W. SamO and Jack followed me in.
Summary: racing on some of what I consider to be the best singletrack in the Midwest (ranks right up there w/ Mammoth, Spirit Mt, Maplelag, Chequamegon Forest to name a few) makes those long nasty climbs totally worth it.
Dana supplied the amazing pics above.
This weekend I won't be racing, as I plan to take Tegan on his first camping trip. He is excited and so am I!