I am so glad Jenny and Thom talked me into racing this. I was going to skip it: too much work, no callup, and a distraction from Cross Crusade, which is where I’m putting all my effort this year.
So: Third place, my first podium finish, at the State Championships no less. Now fifth place in the GPET.. Thom said “this race has Paul Souders written all over it,” and I’m inclined to agree. Climbing and running and more climbing. Definitely a Man vs. God race.
Staged second row, maybe 10th position. Held this position to the first (and longest) climb, up the cart path. Past that point I began to drop the competition with some ferocity. I don’t think anyone passed me all race. By Lap 2 spectators were shouting “third place!” at me. By late in Lap 3 I was 20 seconds or more ahead of Tom Palke (fourth place) and at least that distance behind the leaders. Some spectators thought I was winning, which was encouraging, but in the back of my mind I knew better. There was such a large gap around me that I began to get a little lazy, not a good place to be. Could I have caught the guys ahead of me, if Tom was applying more pressure from behind? Well, that’s not his fault.
Edgefield is lovely. Jenny and the kids stayed home which allowed me a little focus. Thom’s family came out, as did a mutual friend and his kids.
I wish every race had at least one really long climb in it.