Finish: 27th (3:14:00)
Location: Prescott, AZ
Distance: 46.7 mi
In less than 10 words: Had a flat tire and a great race.
GPS track on Strava: Whiskey 50
When my teammate, Bryan Fawley, came flying by me a quarter of a mile after the start yelling “Get on my wheel!” I was pretty confused. First of all, I thought he wasn’t going to race because I hadn’t seem him as I was warming up. Turns out he made it to the start 45 seconds before the gun went off and decided that he might as well have some fun. Fortunately, confusion didn’t keep me from following him and he pulled me up to the front of the pack. That made two times that Bryan and I had been leading the race in one weekend! But this time we led the race for the first couple of miles (all pavement) and looked really fast and awesome for the lead truck full of photographers that we were following. Sadly, only one photo of this seems to have made it onto the interwebs…
After a couple of miles though, I decided I probably shouldn’t kill myself before the race really started and backed off a bit to save some energy for the next 45 miles of racing. On the initial climb I was with a strong group and we made good time until the first descent when we got stuck behind a racer who couldn’t descend. I really wanted to take advantage of the Occam‘s descending capabilities and drop some people, but it wasn’t meant to be, at least not on that descent. After another climb up to the entrance of Skull Valley I found myself in a group of five and as we dropped into Skull Valley we started chasing down the racers in front of us. We caught a couple on the descent but after the turn-around the group disintegrated on the 12-mile climb out. One racer left me on the climb but I gave a push right before the entrance to the singletrack and got ahead of a couple of other racers and moved into 15th.This was the last big descent of the race and I finally got to see what the Occam could do. It was awesome! I bombed down the descent and even though both legs cramped, caught my teammate, Kalan Beisel, shortly before we hit the 4-mile paved road to the finish. I was looking forward to riding into the finish with him until 30 seconds before the pavement a rock sliced open my sidewall. I was bummed. Really bummed. But not nearly as bummed as I was when I put a tube in, it exploded because the hole in the sidewall was so big and I had to ride the last 4 miles on a flat. Luckily, the combo of WTB Nano Raptor tires and Stan’s NoTubes Crest rims got me safely back to the finish (and the rim is fine), but I lost 12 spots and rolled across the line in 27th.
So, even though I had some lousy luck, I had a great race. I was good about staying fueled (HEED, Hammer Gel, Endurolytes and Perpetuem Solids), rode consistently the whole race and finished feeling strong and fast (and a little squirly on my flat tire).