The start was about 3/4 of a mile on a slightly downhill paved road. So as you can imagine, I was having a hard time containing myself. I knew that if I really wanted to I could be the first into the singletrack, but this race has bitten me before, plus I did a marathon 32 hours earlier. So I was very unsure about how the body would react.
Right from the gun a saw 4 riders go off the front, I gave chase and sat in behind them until the singletrack. Then backed off to a more comfortable pace, and let two more people pass me. After about 6 miles there was a straight long climb up a fire road, and I could see 5 of the 6 people ahead of me right there, riding in a pack and climbing together at what seemed like a slow pace... I hammered and caught the group as they were heading back into singletrack. I started to feel better and better, and starting passing them one by one. By mile 14 (where the course went through an abandonded factory, so cool!) I was all alone in 2nd and rode as hard as I could back to Rick. Was probably grinning the whole way, as the both the trail conditions and the weather where perfect!
Rick took it from there and had a great 2nd loop, hamering with his head down he missed a corner and had to backtrack, probably cost him about 2 minutes. Not sure if he tackled a tree before or after that, but it left a nice souvenir on his forearm. One person passed him, which is strange, and must have happened when he was off course, because he doesn't let that happen very often. Rick, any comments on that :) ?