Yeah, if you weren't up for ~1000 accelerations per lap, you probably had a rough one out there on Sunday. The Elk River course is a new and welcome addition to the MNSCS, and while the biggest climb out there is probably 40 feet of elevation gain, Rich's GPS says that there is still 1000 feet total per lap. After racing it, I wouldn't argue w/ that figure...either way, it was a little piece of singletrack heaven.
From the gun, Devin Curran opened up the throttle on his single speed...nice! I managed past him on the only doubletrack climb (part of the lap but included in the prologue, which helped sort things out). As I pulled back onto the road for the remainder of the prologue I looked back an I had a good gap. I didn't feel like being a carrot from the start so I let up a little and Jeff Hall caught me. After catching me, we started chatting and I told him to go first into the single track...he wasn't eager though. Basically, on a course like this, I knew he would be the one to beat. Our conversation lasted a little too long and a charging field caught us. I made a quick acceleration getting into the next first bottleneck 4th wheel, and before exiting the prologue I was 3rd wheel behind Justin Reinhart and Jeff. Justin was putting down a solid pace so I just waited as the engine began to warm up. It is a often easier following the first bit for me especially on more technical courses like this one. When we came upon a "technical section" with a bypass, Justin and Jeff took the bypass, I went straight down the pile of gorilla-head-size rocks and skirted into the lead. From there, I just rode the singletrack as fast as I could without being inefficient. I was able to steadily open the gap up to 2 minutes by then end...I suffered some doing so, but it was still fun cruising the singletrack=)
The only big mistake I made was that I forgot to have a Gu on board, and my energy levels were hovering around E for the last 40-50 minutes of the race. However, the Gu2O was JUST enough to keep me going until the finish.
I will be out at Buck this week and will follow that up with a weekend at the Fisher family cabin. Chris is going to let me try his new Jet 4 road wheels...I am pumped!
I will post some pics when I find some...