It feels like a long time ago that we lined up for the 2014 edition of this race. I'm tired but recovering well and looking forward to tomorrow's big stage that includes Squirrel, Laurel Mountain and Pilot.
We lined up today and headed down 2 miles of gravel. My initial plan was to follow Mike and Dave and keep an eye on them. When I realized that they were not handling the gravel decent well, slowing in the corners, and knowing that they did not have the experience of riding a trail like Butter Gap, I turned on the gas and dropped them.
I hit the single track and climbed like a scared cat and pushed the pace way too high. After looking back across one little valley, I didn't see either one and I let off the pressure just a hair. Out onto the gravel road, and almost to Davidson River trail, I looked back and saw Mike slowly gaining on me. I hit the gas again, and held him off for another 30 minutes all the way to the first rest stop. He kept riding, I stopped to refill. I glanced at his bike and noticed that he only carried one water bottle...
I got on the road again quickly and assumed my pace. I had no idea how far back Dave was, but assumed that he would be taking it easy today. He had taken a hard day yesterday, and I assumed.
Cove Creek Enduro, Daniel's Ridge and the fire road back to the rest stop. Topped off the bottle and headed the last 8 or so miles to the finish. I took my time, chatting with other racers and going an easy pace. About 4 minutes out of the rest stop, a racer from Boston, stated that " The guy on the fat bike is not very far back". Crap! No more time for chit chat, I hit the gas and got going. Never assume!
I made it to the finish without getting caught, but Dave managed to finish about 2 minutes behind me. I lost another 12 minutes to 1st place so it looks like I won't be able to catch him, but with over 40 miles of racing left, anything can happen.