Perry and Barb did a great job in setting up a challenging course in a beautiful location. Being in the mountains, you knew it would be hilly. The main feature was a long uphill section, which was really 3 distinct uphill sub-sections. Coming off of some gravel you had a deep grass section and this went 180 to the left up a gravel road. At the top of the gravel road you went onto pavement and followed this quarter mile paved road (6-8%) to the top where it got steeper. At the steepest point you made a left 90 degree across a small ditch and then up a quite steep, loose dirt hill which was sometimes rideable and sometimes a run. From there the uphill ended and you got a nice treat to a screaming downhill.
Hills are not my thing. Even now with less weight than ever I did not make it up that hill very fast. As evidenced on the first lap, the experienced road guys used their power to get away on the hill, first Nate, then eventually Brendan attacked. I was able to make up for it by taking risks on the downhill section and latch back on, but eventually it took its toll on me and I had a hard time keeping their wheel on the flat sections. Otherwise I felt very strong.
Brendan attacked on the 2nd or 3rd lap after we had reeled in Nate. Brady went with him as well as Nate. Jay was behind me but soon passed me on the hill. Eventually Nate blew mid-race, Brady was dropped and Jay stayed out in front of me. It was the usual pecking order. I had to run in or under the red the whole race and go at my own pace hoping people would come back to me. Since this did not happen I took 5th.
This is the first year where I simply cannot respond to attacks. The top 4 guys are simply too strong. This is very frustrating with all the training I have done and I wonder what nationals will bring. With one race left, my last serious GA CX race, I want to make the podium one last time.
It is nice to know that every once in awhile you have affected other folks to take up the sport or train harder. It is a big compliment for which I am thankful.
Sixth and fifth place finishes are a good ending because if I was killing it this year I might be tempted to give it another shot seriously next year. I do hope that next year all 4 guys only do the A races. All of them are talented enough.
If you want something special after the Dahlonega race to celebrate the end of my serious competition, catch me at my car after the race.