Monday, October 22, 2012

Ruts N Guts 2 - Showdown At Sundown

Showdown At Sundown is my kind of course. It is fast, it flows well, and the grass had a ton of grip. It is located on a golf course (driving range actually). I kept my Challenge Limus tire on up front, but went with a file tread in the rear. It seemed like a good combo for this course.
My 5th place result the night before put me on the front line for the start. They started doing call-ups about 10 minutes early, so the Drummond brothers weren't there yet. I was purposely taking up quite a bit of room, but when the brothers got there I had to give up some room so they could get on the front row. No biggie, they deserved to be there, but now we were all basically bar-to-bar on the front row, about 15 people across. My start wasn't horrible, but not quite as good as the night before.
Before the course gets fast and flowy, there is a tough off camber section. The tall barrier is placed after an off camber corner. I only dismount and mount on my left side, and that was the downhill side. I did a decent job getting on and off each lap, but not great. It will be something to continue to work on.
Like usual, when the gap opened up in the race, I was behind it. The top 4 guys from Friday were all up there, plus a few more. There was a pretty good headwind on parts of the course, and at the moment I should have bridged I was content letting somebody else pull, and the gap grew. Eventually our chase group consisted of Jason Pratt, Chuck Sloan, and me. As soon as I saw Chuck, I told Jason that we had to stay with him. About 5 seconds later, I don't remember what happened, but Jason and Chuck were riding away from me. I'm not sure if I made a mistake or if somebody in front of me did. I chased for a while and eventually got back on them. Once I was recovered, I took the lead and started doing my share of the work. Then, just like the previous night, I wasn't paying attention and turned a post too early. I guess it was a combination of fatigue, the darkness, and not focusing. Chuck and Jason gapped me, so I was stuck chasing yet again. They caught the lead group and I finally made my way up there too.
Once I was on the lead group, it felt like we were crawling. I think it was just that much easier to be in the draft. When I thought we would have 2 laps to go, we actually only had 1 to go. Skyler gapped the field in the off camber section, but we caught back on. I was sitting 5th behind Jason through the flowy section, trying to figure out a place to move up. He clipped his pedal on one of the turns and a gap opened up. When I got around him, I was too far behind the 3 leaders to catch back on. I ended up taking 4th. The top 3 guys beat me the day before, so it didn't affect the omnium for me. Jason ended up beating the Drummond who finished 2nd the night before, so that helped Jess and I move a little closer to him in points for the omnium.
Like Friday, I was happy with 4th, but at the same time I wished I could redo the last lap and race for a higher spot; but that is pretty much true for every race I do. I did what I could. I was pretty proud of myself for being able to even catch that lead group. It would have been a good course for me to squeeze out a win, but that wasn't the case on Saturday.

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