So I've been thinking about my chances in this race and that I had no chance. Honestly there was a moment when I was like "screw it, a 10am like yesterday's would be more worthwhile than Turkey Day, there's no point in going to a race where you have no shot."
That played to script in the first race, the 3/4. I felt really solid through the whole race, bridged to a move that failed through stupidity and hopelessness, and then made the commitment to be there at the end. I busted ass on the backside to get to top 10 after turn 3 and thought I was good there. Between turns 3 and 4 I got hit like 15 times on my back wheel, seat and hips, it was a bit crazy. Through turn 4 I had to hit the brakes pretty hard when guys came off their line and just mailed the rest in. Why the hell did I waste the time and money??
Between the 3/4 and the 4 I told a group I was hanging with "I don't want to have another finish like that, if I start getting skeeved out by how people are going I'm just going off the front and stay there until I get rich or die trying."
The 4 race started, we went around a few laps. Chris was doing an unbelievable job of taking me to the front whenever I needed it, and as we approached the start/finish like 5 laps in I told him "if we're here like this again next lap, just kill it right here." Then they rang the bell for prime lap, and I retracted my statement. Chris disagreed and brought me to the strike zone as the prime contestants were winding down, and we had a huge head of steam. I made the one second decision of "I'm here, I feel awesome, let's give it a roll. Never know if you don't try." About a third of a lap later, Tom bridged up clean and we instantly got to work. When you imagine having a guy to work with in your break, he's your guy. Total commitment from both of us from the first second.
We survived a prime lap after about 5 laps of being away, with about 5 to go, and started to shout at each other - things like "great pull, solid, strong" and "f-ing hit it, they're getting close!!!" Bipolarity at its best. Really we were pretty silent, we didn't have the breath to spare.
I know my whole team was working hard to help us, which was great. It got me through some rough spots to know that they were working hard and I didn't want to let them down. In particular, a bunch of people said what a great job Nate had done at the "toilet paper on the heels" game. This is really special to me since we worked really hard together on Lost River, he's going to promote it next year, and we've been working hard together, pushing each other's games up, since we got done with Lost River. The good peer pressure really helps.
Anyhow, we managed to stay away until half a lap to go they were starting to breathe down our necks really hard. The way the pull locations were working out had me working until the last turn and Tom taking the downhill/downwind finish straight. There's a lesson to be learned there, I know, in organizing things but I'd do the same for the same result. I was absolutely cashed through the last turn and said "take the win but you gotta F-ING DRILL IT CUZ THEY'RE HERE."
He broke the tape, I was on his wheel, and third was less than a wheel length behind me.
What a freaking ride. I can't believe we made it stick from so long, on that course. The course that I had zero shot on.
If I'd won I would have gone home with a wicked sweet cross frame. Oh well, got some goodies anyway.
Big props to Bobby Phillips for putting on a great day of racing.
Two out of the last 3 races on the podium, and moving in the right direction. One more next week that I feel great about, and I'll finish this stupid upgrade in big style.