Alex and I drove up to Fontana Village, NC last Saturday morning for the final round of the Southeast Regional Series. I found the course technical enough for my liking and the climbing not bad at all. To make matters even better I had good legs and it rained all night.
We awoke to rain and an absolutely disgusting course. I was delighted as I love racing in the mud. The worse it is the better I ride.
Started towards the back of the group and rode a mellow pace for the first climb. I started to pick it up on the second climb and passed a couple of guys. The technical downhill went fine, and I pinned it pretty hard to pass another guy on the steep gravel climb. Rode the last downhill conservatively and had a little gap over 7th place at the end of the first lap. Rode conservatively up the first half of the climb as 7th place was burying himself to catch me. He made contact mid way up and I immediately attacked him and rode off. Soon after I caught 5th, then 4th, had 3rd place in sight and was closing fast and feeling strong while watching others suffer and have trouble with the mud. Only one lap to go.
The one inch tear in my tire sidewall put an abrupt end to all that.
I repaired the tear with a gel pack and aired it up the best I could dropping back to sixth place in the process. It was amazing how blown apart the race was by then. Repairs done I rolled out to try to make up time. Five minutes later I got my second flat and was forced to abandon. The walk back out was rough but the silver lining was that I got back before the race was over and made it to the hose first to wash off. Clean bike and body, we loaded up and drove home. I hate DNFing but am enthusiastic that my legs are good right now. Looking forward to the next event- Fool's Gold 100 in Dahlonega, GA next weekend. Good trails, good event, and I'll get to see my parents! Should be fun.