I had an amazing start after a good warm up with Etzl and De Cal, felt good enough to move into 5th on the opening climb. I punched it in the following singletrack and got on Bayden's wheel. We moved through some traffic then I started loosing and gaining positions, passed 3 guys before and after the first feedzone where I didn't take a bottle. I knew I was in good position on the second climb.
The second time up hurt quite a bit more and I was surprised to see Emily Batty at the side of the trail cheering everyone on, training for Worlds I guess. I was sitting maybe 5th at this point and I wasn't feeling very cooked at all so I pushed very hard on the DT, people were drafting but I didn't mind, I wanted to move up. I realised how exciting it was to race up front, was having a good time on the rock gardens and berms, should have worn gloves though.
The feedzone was brutal for exchanging bottles, almost lost my front wheel. Took a bottle this time and punched it before the climb, I don't know where I was but I'm guessing maybe even 3rd at one point before the top of the third time up Ascencion, Trev was gone so it was a race for second. I was pumped I was in contention for a podium. I lost a few spots here and there and couldn't move up from 5th or 6th the whole lap. Coming down one of the rootier gardens I kicked the rock I always came so close to and my shoe popped out of the pedal, luckily I stayed up. Lost a spot before the feedzone but we were bridging to the group ahead then I seen a guy sprinting so I thought it was the last lap and I went for the line haha. The guys at the table told me to get back on the course from the back so I had to turn around again, got some chain suck and watched the guys I was with disappear in the trees.
So now I was racing for 7h with a couple other guys, I treated it as I was going for a podium spot since I really had no idea where I was at the time. There was quite a bit of traffic with the Master Exs and a few elite women here and there, but there were plenty of lines to take to pass so it I wasn't really getting slowed down at all. I passed Erica Bota on that rooty downhill and my shoe popped out of the pedal again but this time I didn't kick anything, pedal's loose again, probably from kicking things. This time it was way harden to stay up because it happened before the hardest part. Luckily stayed up and I pushed hard knowing it was my last lap and I might be near a top 5. Sprinted for the finish and crossed the line feeling pretty cooked and also very happy I had a good race. Looks like the form is coming around afterall.
Watched De Cal crush another sprint and headed over for some intense first aid, cooled down and talked with the Vegan Vagabond and Kerton about their races, bummer. Solid rides De Cal and Trev who dominated the Expert category today, the race was much closer if you don't count his time haha. Big thanks to paps for the drive and the pro feed.
Just checked something;
Hardwood: 84.4 upgrade points
I now have enough points to go Elite, defenitely not before provincials, maybe I can be convinced in the off-season. Alot depends on provincials, I'd like to get that closer to 275 so I'm hoping for a top5, a podium would be nice.