After unloading I stopped a moment ....Only I won’t be ”racing” because, well, I just need to get some miles in. After unloading I stopped a moment to take in the sights of this unfamiliar place, as it occurs to me that we are in a holler and the only way out is up. That puts a smirk on my face and instantly I’m concerned about my heart rate and surviving the distance of the expert course = 20 miles. I hear reports of “fast and flowy” and a smile returns to my face.
Gearing up for the ride. “Remember, this isn't a race, I’m just here to get my miles in.” I keep telling myself. As we are readying ourselves I hear the voice of Kenny saying “We will see how long it takes till I blow past Rodney!” “Uh huh” I reply, for lack of better words, and knowing full well that even with a 5 minute head start the “Freight Train on two wheels” would have me in his sights far sooner then I cared to admit. Did I say that this wasn't a race?? “Keep your HR low and go the distance!” I say to myself.
The racers line up. I don’t even bother trying to stuff myself into the pack of 50 or so experts lined up bar to bar as I pace back and forth behind them waiting for the start. Bam they're off! Except for a handful of us following in the dust storm left behind the fastest of the fast. “Remember this isn't a race, just get your miles in! But, should I try not to be in last place?” I ask. A quick glance at my HR reveals I don’t have much of a choice since I’m already zone 5 within the first 1.5 miles. After about the 3rd mile I start wondering when that blasted Freight Train would be blowing its horns. Still at zone 5 I assess the situation and feeling good I decide to continue on with the option of stopping for a break and or “bailing” at mile 15 with the sport riders if need be.…Mile 13 or so. What no Kenny? Did he flat? Or crash? Or can I hold him off??? … “Ohh Rodney” I hear echoing through the trees. “Damn it!” “Remember it's not a race.” Oh hell no, 2 miles left it’s a fucking race! Especially with this downhill on my side knowing that the Freight Train on two wheels is on a full rigid frame, I got this, only I just let 3 sport riders pass me on the uphill and damn if I wasn't about to run one of them over, but I still manage to pull a few seconds on Kenny. All too soon it's back uphill. I survive another uphill without being passed, oh good another downhill, only it wasn't long enough and the next climb was bad ass. Towards the top of the previous climb I glance over my shoulder and see the Freight Train on two wheels standing up mashing on the pedals! Not what I was hoping to see at mile 14. If I had any chance of holding him off. Exhausted, shortly after the climb began I heeded to let Kenny by. It was a well fought battle and way more fun than I expected, I breathed a sigh of relief that it was over and continued pedaling on up the hill feeling pretty good about the situation.
Only I still have 5 more miles to go. Feeling good with plenty of adrenaline flowing my body doesn't feel so bad so I decide to do the next 5 miles and let my heart rate drop a few zones and take it easy. Only the coast of a ¼ mile or so down a paved road to the next and final section didn't go as planned. I figured I could relax and get some energy back but quickly discovered upon entering the next trail that my muscles had tightened up on that short coast and it was going to be a long painful 5 miles to the finish! But I cruised to the end to the welcome sound of fellow KSDers cheering me on at the finish Line!