Shey and Adam added a number of features to the course this year that made it more difficult.
- First there was a set of 3 steps added to where a barrier section was last year. This "natural" barrier was in place before the race and did not negate the UCI rule of 1 artificial barrier section per race. It was at the end of an uphill grassy track so you got very little momentum riding into it.
- Second, since the lake was down, they added a short (10ft) sand section that was rideable, but it was the loss of momentum through the sand and the immediate hill after that was hard.
- Third, they added a number of new twist and turns on the grass.
I was wondering who would be primed after Hendersonville and who would be tired, and how my break week would affect me.
At the start there were 5 of us together until the stair section and then it was Perry, Dave W., Dub and myself. Theron had a bit of trouble with his cleat after the stair or else he would have been there too. As we got to the sand some decided to run and other to ride the sand. I rode and soon it was Perry and I with about 10 seconds gap. This turned into 30 seconds by lap 2, meanwhile my eyees were popping trying to stay on Perry's wheel. I was able to do Ok until we got to the hill section which has always given me fits. Last year this was where Tony Scott attacked and won the race. This year Perry accelerated each lap here and by lap 3 he dropped me. He was simply too strong for me to hold on to. I guess he figured that it made no sense for me to hang around since I have beaten him in sprints before, so his accelerations were to get rid of me.
He was coming back to me and only had about 8 seconds lead when I slipped on a root and had to put my foot down. This cost me time and I never recovered. I was able to hold on to the gap and take second.
Each time through the field leading up to the stairs I hit the same damn hole. By the third time I had grass poking out of my rim where the tires *should* be glued. My options were to pit and lose time or throw caution to the wind and keep riding. I never pitted but each time I hit that hole the tire would slide and I would wait to go down. I will have to reglue the tire this week.
Out of the usual suspects that have been battling all season, I give Perry the edge next week for the State jersey. I feel like I could contest this if I have a repeat of my success there last year. That being said, if the unusual suspects make an appearance, it should be a slugfest for awhile at least.
I would love to have the GA State jersey but everything has to go right for me on Saturday in order to get it.