Arrive at venue around 6pm, course is marked and super dry. No signs of a race going on other then a sign at the front gate. Ride the trail and run into a local that had a Garmin 705 GPS unit - course is roughly 6.5 miles long.
Course starts out in field, twists and turns down, twist and turns up, through a few single track sections, into another grass section, then back in for the 4 miles of single track.
Single track is tight, twisty and turny with lots of tree roots - but oddly enough, flows very well. There is a few technical sections that are really short and a few short power climbs - this was a course to ride entirely in the middle/big ring.
Out of the woods, into the grass again. Trail hugged the tree line at the bottom of the park, then shot up a small climb, back down a slalom course of sorts, and then back up the other side of it into where the pits/start area would be.
Run into Yuri in the AM, find out Nat and the Toast Man (Josh Tostado) will be attendance and are on the way to the venue.
We set up the tent, waited for Nat and Josh and rode out as a group. We did one lap, then I went back out to ride some of the single track again.
Mass start, no run - which is a good thing since I bashed one of my big toes on a rock a few weeks back at Big Bear. Pro Solo's all get a call up and get on the front which was a good thing since the single track really didn't happen until about 1/4 mile down the trail.
Pace starts out hot, I get in the top 7 or so and there is a huge gap already on the first climb back to the main field. By the time we get to the real single track, the field is out of site.
By the time the single track is over, the gap is formed on the main riders - Nat, Brandon, Josh and Chris are in full cross country pace, and then a few others, then my little group of three others.
The laps pass, I am now sitting in 5th after about 4 hours or so. Heat soars up to the mid 90's and I start feeling it.
4 hours later, I got a bad case of sports induced asthma - same thing I had at Moab last year. I have been riding with signs of asthma for over 2 hours, at this point it's getting very hard to breathe. I'm well over a lap up on 6th place, just a few minutes behind Brandon who is having stomach issues.
I contemplate stopping as the asthma never goes away - should of went to the doctor about it after Moab, but I never did. I was kicking myself as I sat in the pit while one of the other solo riders who was also taking a break asked me if I was OK as I was not looking too swell. Told him I was having asthma issues.
Two seconds later, his mechanic handed me his inhaler - 5 minutes later, my lungs felt like two huge balloons as every sign of my asthma went away. 20 minutes ago I could barely push a 130 heart rate - I was now able to go full out.
I went out decently hard for the next few laps, eventually catching Brandon who had also had a long pit. Brandons stomach issues were not getting any better and he stopped just as I was going out for what would be my final lap.
Once again had to fight off the inner demons as the heat kicked in and to be quite honest, I vaguely remember those few hours when I wasn't feeling too swell.
Thanks goes out to Dad (solo pit crew member) and Brandon's parents for keeping me in the game and the random mechanic with the inhaler that opened my lungs.