Recycler Carl sends an off-road report from the Stottlemeyer 30:
The weather gods decided to ignore the forecast and provided a sunny day for some MTB racing in Port Gamble, WA.
An early ferry and carpool got us to the race start; we warmed up on the forest road and cheered on the 60 milers as they went by. At the start line, I had the jitters that come with the first race of the season. Knowing these were tough trails, I did not want to go out too hard, so at the gun I let Tom Phillips of Ragnarock set the pace up the forest road, and we quickly opened a small gap on the group. After about 2 miles of road that included a small climb, I went into the red zone as I chased Tom through tight winding singletrack, with lots of roots and mud to keep things interesting. I managed to catch his wheel and we settled into a steady pace. We hit the next section of road together, swapping pulls and leaving the third place rider to watch us disappear out of sight, then Tom let me take the lead into some fast and fun open singletrack. We stayed together through most of the first lap, swapping pulls on roads, then I’d lead through the singletrack. But when the trail turned uphill, I pulled away.
Going into the second lap, I grabbed a PBJ bite from the aid, and tried to up the pace through the woods, where I caught lots of 60 mile riders. I felt good for most of the second lap and rode alone with the hammer down, feeling like I had paced myself well and was holding a negative split. The climbs towards the end of the lap took their toll the second time around, and by the time I
hit the last fire road section I was running out of gas. But I kept the hammer down until the end. I rolled across the line in 2:28:22 for the win, very happy I did not have another 2 laps to go. Tom came in 4 minutes later to take the masters category.
The race was well run on a great course with plenty of challenge. I am looking forward to Epic Series Race 2 at Echo Valley in Chelan.