With SS Worlds just over a week away, I had a plan for this weeks race at Northstar. The Northstar races are a great place to try some different strategy. You've got fast guys, cheap entry fees and it's only 15 minutes from the house.
The plan: Be in the backish part of the group on the first climb to see just how things unfold back there and then try to make my way towards the front before descending to avoid eating too much dust. This would also allow me to see if you can make up enough time on people as they got tired as the race progressed. This isn't too far off the usual outcome of the races the past few weeks.... but hey... a plan's a plan.
The reality: I lined up in the front of the group. Habit I guess. We start and I'm out front. I keep an eye on the heart rate monitor and I'm below what I'm normally at but still leading. I wait for someone to pass. Never happens. At the mid-point of the climb, I "give it" a bit. We're on single track and I don't want the group to get too bunched up. At the 2/3rds point of the first climb the climb eases and I get a good rhythm. A quick look over the shoulder reveals the Scott Vaughn and my evil twin, Kenny, are a little ways back. I go into the descent numero uno. Dust free. Feelin' good. Fun descent. Similar to last week w/ a new connector to keep things interesting.
Lap 2: Climb. Nothing too exciting. I'm relaxed. I've got a comfy gap to second. Descend like crazy. Feelin' good. Clear the table top w/ a bit of cross up.... just cause. "DUNG"!!!! I'm definitely flatting. Front pinch. Stop. Pull wheel. Peel tire. Throw in new tube. As I thread on the Co2, 2nd place comes by. I let the air device do its thing. Re-mount the wheel and I'm off. NASCAR... eat your heart out.
Lap 3: Scott's got about a minute on me. With this weeks race tactic blown to hell, I push... hard. At the swithcbacks just before the 2/3rds point of the climb, I can see I'm gaining on him. He sees this too and kicks things up a notch. I'd really like to catch him before the descent. Passing is pretty much impossible unless someone pulls off the side to let you by... an option that's probably not going to happen. It takes me the entire descent to catch him and I managed to JUST squeeze by as the course crosses over itself and heads into the final few bermed out switchbacks before the finish.
So, I retain my points lead in the series.... for now. I'll surely loose that as I'll be missing next weeks race. Friends in town for SSWC. Other rides to do. Traveling. Can't wait.