Like Wendell I hadn't ridden much in a couple of weeks (when it gets cold I gets lazy) so I wasn't expecting much for the race. I did go down to the course on Sat. evening to pre-ride and got there just as they were finishing the set up.
On the pre-ride I rode the hill each lap but not at speed so it was questionable if I could do that in the race after a couple of laps. The ditch didn't seem too bad so I rode it also but thinking back on it I would have been faster to run the ditch, jump back on and power up the hill. The last lap of my pre-ride I timed myself at about 80% effort and came in at 7:42, well I should have aimed for that in the race the next day and would have probably finished better.
Race day morning was better than I expected, nice temps and good humidity, choose to wear the battle flag jersey but an interesting note if you go to the Veterans Memorial Park in Blue Ridge you will notice that most of the veterans in the Civil War from the area fought for the North, you will probably find that in the mountains that was not unusual.
Ok back to the race, the whistle sounded and Dan took off like a shot out of a Yankee cannon! Torre and Lamar were not far behind and I took a spot behind Lamar up the first hill to the pavement. I managed to pass Lamar and then Gerard passed me and Torre up the paved climb, I passed Torre about half way up the paved section and caught Gerard at the ditch, I noticed Dan got off and ran the ditch, smart move. Getting across the ditch I would then pedal the down hill hard to hit the loose up hill dirt section with as much speed as possible, this worked to get me about half way up with just a little effort to go over the top. Doing this I passed Gerard and then Dan at the crest of the hill and took the next turns wide almost getting into the tape, again! I managed to avoid taking myself out and screamed down the hill, hitting close to 30 mph, down in the low lands I took a peek back and didn't see anyone and was thinking, damn a big ole lead so I tried to settle down and just ride a good pace not looking back to see if anyone was catching me. At the mulch run section I thought I heard someone behind me but still didn't look back, when I hit the paved section before the start line big Dan comes by like he had just started the race, so fast I couldn't respond. So up the paved ascent for the 2nd lap and Greg T. passes but he has to get off and run the hill so I repass him, back down in the flats we pass and repass each other some more then Torre comes by an then moments later Gerard and Greg do the same. I stayed there as best I could letting them get a little gap up the paved section thinking I could get the gap back on the hill, no didn't work I hit the ditch and let the front wheel dive in too hard and a tumble I took, that was it as far as racing for a podium, 5th place.
I may have went too hard on the first lap but it didn't seem like the effort was that much but I guess no training = no endurance. I reckon if my fitness level was the same as earlier in the year I would have had a good shot at a podium or even a win.