The Florida State Championship Series has come to an end. It was an incredible experience, a great journey. Starting the season completely out of shape and working towards fnishing in the top ten. The Reddick race was great race to finish up the year. Goneriding put on a great season of races and saved the best for last. The white wave went off at 9:30 AM onto an 11.3 mile course. One lap only.
At the start line I knew I was in trouble. All the fastest racers were lined up next to me. My strategy has been to attack the front of the pack from the side, nudging out some slower riders at the gun, giving me room to crank hard and get my speed up to get a good jump onto the singletrack.With the best of the best rubbing elbows with me, I sensed I was going to squeezed and thats what happened. I got squeezed, pushed to the middle of the pack and then squeezed again as we entered the singletrack as I chose a bad line and got passed by several more riders. This put me about 2/3 back in the pack.
As we hit the first small climb the riders were dabbing as tires rubbed onto one another. The rider in front of me got jammed as he crested this hill, I came up to him and had to unclip as I crested and as I was pushing forward and clipping back in to get going again, I was it from behind and sent flipping over my handle bars down a very very steep drop. I ended up in the bushes, my bike was twisted up in the middle of the single track. It took me a little bit to get myself focused again and get my bike off the slope. Meanwhile, all the rest of the riders were lined up at the crest of the hill waiting for me to clear the track so they could come down. This was all on a fresh cut trail and the there weren't many options for even going a little off the track. As I got my bike back together, I was in second from last place and a little shook up. I continued on the fresh cut which lasted the first mile and had a beautiful long climb in it to really make you wish you had trained harder. I was able to pass 2 -3 riders on the climb. The next 3-4 miles I slowly passed riders, mostly when they couldn't make a climb or they had wiped out. Its really funny when a rider is tired. They start to get wobbly and wipe out on the easiest stuff. Fatigue is beaaatch. The trail was difficult to pass on. I only passed one guy on the flat out sections as I went deep into the bushes to get around him. Probably the most aggressive pass I did all seaason. Good practice for me. I managed to get one gu into me around the 5 mile mark, before I hit a technical section. This juiced me up and I was able to pass several more riders as they were wearing out and laying in the bushes ( from the classes in front of me and my class) and having mechanical problems. I did another Gu shot and drank some accelerade from the bottle to prepare for the final stretch. As i entered the final 3 miles I was on the wheels of 3 riders, spaced out a little bit in front of me. I battled this one guy from S Florida for most of the second technical section and he finally pulled off to the side and let me pass. I took advantage of the opening and sped up and caught the wheel of the next guy. I rode his tire and got passed him on a climb. Then I could see the next rider about 25 yards in front of me and I recognized him and knew he was good rider, a contender. I accelerated to catch him and closed the gap but he was putting on a strong finish. This was the mistake that I made. I didn't realise that thefinish was as close as it was. I still thought that I had one more climb to go and then the final stretch. I already did that climb but wasn't focused on the trail as I should have been. I realised too late that the end was near and tried to catch the last guy in front of me but he knew the end was there and he was hammering it. I finished .04/100 minute behind him, but we finished a solid minute in front of the last guy that I had passed, showing that he either bonked or we were riding hard. The final result was 11'th place for the Ellsrider. Locking up a top ten finish on the season, possibly being 9'th place ( currently listed as 9'th, but I think some adjustments need to be made for the final standings).
The Idster had a so s-so race, having installed a new cassette and chain the night before the race he had minor shifting problems and finished in 10'th palce. Congratulations to the The Original Ellsrider, having his strongest and best race of the season, finishing in 4'th place, just 1 minute out of 1'st. Excellent race. I knew he was killin' it. On our mid week rides he has ben passing me in the fields of Boyette, getting air as he goes up slope over the jumps. Strong! He got his medal to end the season. We each had one medal and are looking forward to getting more next year. The 12 hour race is 8 weeks out. Do you know what your teammates are doing?