Drove up to Clemson today for the SERC Issaqueena MTB race in the SS class. We started at 9:30 which was a bonus considering the heat of the day would be later. I was hoping to put in a good effort and was interested in the long climb at the end of each lap. What surprised me was the small steep climbs in the middle of the race.
I had a good start and was soon off with Michael Scholtz (NCCX). I led about 1/2 a lap until my saddle bag dropped into my rear wheel. Michael was nice enough to sit up in time for me to fix it and we were off again. One of the disappointing things about the GCS/SERC series line-ups is starting the expert women in front of the SS. It is a frustrating thing for both groups since we usually catch them and have to bother them about passing. Today was no different and as we came upon 4 women on a hill, Michael was able to pass but then the line collapsed for me. I asked to pass but the women were having a tough time on the hill as well. With the SS, momentum is on your side so when it is lost you have to dismount and run. There was no other choice on this climb. I had to do this and eventually passed them but gave up the race lead with Michael. Now doomed to second, I did my best to hold that position.
I was able to climb the finishing hill no problem and it was not really a huge factor. I think Michael would still have beaten me up the climb at the end and won, but I would have like to have played that out instead of getting stuck and losing because I could not pass.
Second is not bad and Michael said he would have waited for me had he known, but that's racing. Tony Angevine also showed a lot of class today by killing me with kindness since our argument about passing a few weeks ago. Thanks Tony!