Waway. Clapp meet me at my house & we headed up to grab Iggy in Booton. Always better cruising up with people just makes the whole day more complete. Got there early enough to take our time getting ready & warmed up.
The prologue had me a bit worried but it turned out to be a non-factor. Hit the double track about 2/3 back from the front. The 1st little rocky up & the group is off & walking. Jump back on & decide I need to make a move, really lots of moves. I guess at this point I decide to just go for it. Lap 1 would be my make or break lap & second would be the try & hang on lap. I'm being super aggressive, which is not normally my thing & passing a bunch of people. Finally settle in behind Esteban who I know is always up there in the end. Hang on his wheel for a while, even pass him after Outlook. Didn't last long as he runs by me on 1 of the slimy ups & is gone. Felt good while it lasted. In sitting Bear I get a glimpse of Victor, new target. Get to about 30ft off him close to the S/F & decide to fuel up before I try & make the move.
Eat my gel (must bring the flask next time, just so much easier) pop a few Sportlegs & I'm off chasing him down again. Climbs & fireroads are uneventful. Come up on JimV at 1 point & crash trying to catch him, ouch #1. Back on the bike & I'm now chasing Jim again. Catch & pass him at 2 Bridges & then he passes me back on the next climb. I try to hang on which is a good thing as he pulls me to within 20 feet of Victor, bad thing is as he passes Victor, Victor try's chase Jim down, big gap again. Damn. We finally get into the ST & I pass Jim 1st as he's off on the rocky up. I'm clean on both & I close to the back of Victor's wheel. I'm riding clean & he is not so he just tells me to pass. Ok I'll take it because my legs didn't want to try a pass. Next I pass Mandell who's off the bike. I had decided at that point I was going to walk the Outlook climb as the cramping is getting worse. Get there & look back & Victor is closing. Damn I have to ride it now & I actually make it. Man did it hurt. I was so spent I crashed on the next rocky DH right in front of TomH (the bike patrol guys), ouch #2. Get back up & keep plugging away. I get to SB & the cramps are starting to get really bad. Mandell rides my wheel for a bit & finally passes. I stay with him until the last climb (MattyB's hangout) & he's gone as are my legs. I'm toast!!! Hit the end & couldn't be happier it's over. 8th out of 25. 2m off 7th & 3 off 6th. Not unhappy with that at all. All the faster guys beat me. I felt like I gave it everything I had & more. I'll keep working hard & hopefully can close the gap a little more each race.
Great seeing & hanging with everyone. I agree the whole scene was so much better with the format change. Congrats to Utah, Alex, Patty, Allison, Eric on the podiums, you guys earned it.