At the starting line of the Iceman today my mind was not really into racing. I was thinking of all the things I should have been doing getting ready to move. The last few weeks have been a little stressful as well so I wasn't sure what to expect when the gun went off.
But once we started the adrenaline kicked in and I found myself in 5th place after two miles in. The lead group started to put a gap on me so I jumped in with the next group of five that came up. We pretty much stayed together or didn't break apart too much.
We seemed to have little groups of two or three and sometimes one of us would be off the front for a while. My 29" wheel bike allowed me to take some aggressive lines through the sand and pass riders while those behind me had to wait and get a clear line.
I noticed on some of the steeper hills that I was having trouble with the chain skipping when in the three largest cogs. I think something must have happened to the derailleur early in the race when one rider's front wheel hit my rear in a corner. I was forced to use slightly bigger gearing than I would have liked for most of the hills.
Another guy was with me when we caught a guy from our class with about 8 miles to go. We ran together for the next few miles, passing racers in unison. With about 5.5 miles left there was a particularly steep hill that the others seemed to get stuck behind slower riders and I thought it might be a good time to go by them and try to get some breathing room.
I shifted down twice in the rear to begin an attack when the chain over shifted past the big cog and got stuck between the cassette and the wheel. No matter how hard I tried I could not get the chain free as other riders now started to catch up and pass me while I was working on the bike on the side of the trail.
Just when I thought I would have to abandon the race I managed to work the chain free and ran up the hill and jumped on the bike. Knowing that my top ten spot was gone my goal now was to finish under two hours.
My legs were really hurting after standing around for seven minutes but I tried to put the power down and pass as many racers as I could. Of course none of them were in my class, they were already way up in front of me.
I came around the last corner and sprinted to the finish in 1:59:08 so I did meet that goal. Looking at the results and seeing who I was running with I saw that I had a possible 6th place out of 55 finishers. Instead I ended up 14th. But that's racing.
The bike handled beautifully, the weather cooperated, and I got to see a lot of people I know one more time before we move to Washington. Maybe I will come back just for this race since just about all the racers in Michigan show up.