5th place Masters - 4th place Masters in series - 1:41.36
We met near the marina on this morning, the last race of the month of mud series. We lined up to begin, and I awaited the announcement of the leaders, who would then move themselves up to the front of the pack to have the "pole position." And what a surprise it was to me that I heard my name called! I guess they must have called up those riders who completed all four races of the series.
Well, right then and there I changed my race strategy. I'm a slow starter, but I ride at a consistent pace. I decided to take advantage of being ahead of most of the pack and try to stay with the lead pack for as long as I could.
The whistle blew, and off we went. It was fairly open for several hundred yards and then funneled into some single track. I was right in the middle of the leaders at this point. I would fall back just a bit, but as someone in front of me would be surprised by some rocks, it allowed me to close the gap. Well, for the first half of the first lap I stayed with the leaders. I could feel the adrenaline and energy around me. It was a definite different feel than my usual races.
But then my legs couldn't keep the pace, and I slowed down quite a bit. Made it through the really rocky section, out on to the pipeline, and back into the woods for the downhill section.
I was with a group of three people for quite a while when we entered the downhill section. I was so involved in staying with the group I all of a sudden realized that I was just cruising through rock sections that on previous training rides had stopped me. The 29er at speed through rocks just seemed to float over most of the rocks. It was a definite high point for me.
Well, the first lap was much longer than I was guessing. Most of the MoM races are only about an hour long, and I was on pace for much longer. I caught a number of people on the flat section, and a few more as we headed up the hill on lap two. But then I just went into survival mode. I was burnt. I started getting passed more and more.
I finished up the second lap, slowly getting some energy back as I went. Most of it was a blur, but when I rode over the finish line I received an envelope with cash for getting fifth place Masters.
Couple of the guys I had met during previous races were at the finish, and we talked a bit about the races. Then headed back over to the parking lot, where they gave out the awards for the series winners. Surprisingly, I found out I came in fourth place overall. No prizes (just like last year) but it's still pretty cool to hear your name announced.
So, another great MoM season is finished. I had a great time, was much more competitive, rode stronger, finished much better than I ever would have guessed. Can't wait until next year.
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