Pro XC tour #2 in the books

No excuses this time, I was off of the antibiotics and had my first ‘real’ pro race under my belt, having another crappy showing was unacceptable.  I pre-rode the course the weekend before and knew what to expect.  It was a very technical course with some longer descents which suited me well.  I should have done some warming up on the course though, especially after being warned by Gareth and B. Gritters beforehand that the course was getting super chewed up from the Cat 1’s racing it.  Turns out the course rode completely different than the previous weekend.  

At the start I was lined up behind Miguel Valdez, which I thought was gonna be a nice wheel to follow through the crowd. For some reason at the whistle he hesitated and rolled out at a ‘not very fast’ pace and I was swarmed by riders from the rows behind me.  The course went from a pretty narrow fire road to some single track not too long after the start, and positioning was of the utmost importance.  I was pretty far back and had to put in some solid efforts when the trail would open up on the climbs before going back into single track.  There was so much traffic caused by the 50+ riders that we were all strung out within inches of the wheel in front of you in your easiest gear just soft pedaling, there was nothing else you could do.  
Excuse me I’d like to get by now
Near the end of the first lap (of 4), on the last descent, after moving up some spots and in a good place I ran out of talent and slid into a patch of some kinda small nettle plant thing to break my fall.  All was good but the line that I rode on the course three times the weekend before that I really liked was all of a sudden gone and replaced with loose sand.  So I lost a bunch of spots there and was pretty content to throw in the towel now with a valid excuse.  The tip of my saddle was also now pointed up to about the 11 o’clock position which was no bueno, so about a mile from the start I had to pull over and hit it down with my hand to make it level again, ohh yeah and losing more hard earned spots.  
Post crash, I had leaves in my ear after the race
Still wanting to quit, again, I just kept riding hoping I would change my mind.  Which I did, again.  Thanks to Tom Obrien and the nationwide team for the support and handing me bottles every lap, I kept pushing on.  I just rode the climbs as steady as I could, and would start to reel in riders on the descents and would pick em off one by one as the race went on.  Ended up in 20th, which is a lot better than Bonelli, but considering where I was before I slid out and everything I went through again to get going I could have done better.  But at this level you don’t really get a second chance, you barely ever get a chance at all, which is why it is so intriguing to keep racing at this level.
After almost falling asleep at the top waiting for the super D start, needless to say I had a pitiful performance.  I basically forgot how to ride a bike after laying on a rock in the sun for 45 minutes!  I was unable to clip in immediately at the start, then made some bad line choices and braking decisions.  Bummed because I feel its a course I could have done good on, ohh well, ended up 13th in that.
Time to start thinking about Sea Otter and what I may do the rest of this season.  In the meantime I’m taking in my Focus to clean it up at the Velo Hangar and drink some coffee, ohh I guess my employer will want me to come to work too.
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