Got to the start of the race well ahead of schedule. Call-ups for the race start at around 11:40am and all solo riders are announced. Teams would start 5 minutes behind to avoid trail congestion.
Race starts and I have a decent run to the bike – I am about the 10th rider or so into the first section of single track.
Things start weeding out quickly as the pace and the temperature soar – I would not know it until after the race, but temps would stay at over 100 degrees for over 4 hours straight.
Tinker and Kelly dance away, and the rest of us start our chase – Nat, John, Brandon form a group with a few other riders and start to pull away from me on the first lap. About a mile before the second water stop, I bridge up to the small group.
On the same climb I bridged up to the group, I drop all of them and quickly open a big gap and I am now sitting in 3rd place. I look back over my shoulder and I can’t see another rider. I’m feeling really good at this point, riding my own race at my own pace.
Lap 3 and 4 go by with not much changing overall.
I start to feel the heat and start slowing – the same climb that I felt great on a few laps ago, I was starting to feel like my legs were not turning over well and then Nat caught back up to me. For a few moments we discussed how we both thought Tinker and Walker were going out too hard and that they wouldn’t finish the race. The pace they were setting was just too high for this kind of heat.
With Nat having two completely full water bottles and my one bottle empty, he pulls away.
At this point, I had to race my own race and it was then I thought: time to start running a camelback with water.
Time for the Princeton Tec lights and the camelback to come out. I started the slow process of trying to re-hydrate and re-think my game plan for the rest of the race. I decide to ride one lap at a steady pace, get some fuel in me and plan the rest of the race.