The conditions were harder than last year, when the tract got rain two or three times in the week leading up to the race. This year it barely rained at all in January and early February. The lack of rain and the ruts from the motocross made parts of the trail very sandy. Then again, isn't the sand the reason why we ride Croom? It's like golf in Scotland: If the wind isn't blowing, why bother.
I was determined to ride the hard route this year but had never been on volcano ridge a few miles before the second sag. (I think that's what it's called.) I nearly went off the side of the small cliff on the left of that one turn. That woke me up. At the finish, I felt more worn out this year than last. I was happy with my time of 4:21 start to finish. It's funny though. No matter how fast I think I'm going, people still blow by me like I'm standing still. I'm panting like a St. Bernard in triple digit heat and they are singing songs and talking about how many "extra" miles they are going to ride. I assume some of them posted sub 4 hrs.
Kudos to the volunteers. Great sags, great food and the trail was well marked again this year.