Today was supposed to be a day off of riding. However, it was beautiful out, no humidity, and I got antsy sitting around the house. Since the Cat II had a 2 PM start, there was no reason why I couldn't leave Boston at noon, drive an hour, and get my mountain bike on.
Some ides are better left ignored while sipping morning coffee, though.
Last year I did this race and this year's course was a bit different. Due to the heavy rains last year, they had to reroute big sections of twisty, rooty, rocky singletrack up to a fire road. When I got the text from David that I'd probably want my full-squish bike, I took him up on the advice, even though I remembered this course as being pretty straightforward.
I faded near the back off the start as everyone was racing hard off the line and sucked in a lot of dust on the initial fire road sprint. For the first 15 minutes, I raced like it was CX with a pegged HR racing a bunch of guys. However, I went for a long 4 hour ride with lots of tempo the day before and I was hurting. I decided that actually racing hard was a dumb idea, especially since I had about two hours of this pace ahead of me. So, I eased off and found a zone just a couple beats shy of my LTHR and proceeded to ride for two hours. I passed some, I got passed by some. There were some really fast descents with big rocks and rough stuff and I was really glad for the suspension as it allowed for lazy line selection and increased margin of error handling the bike at speeds.
I kept wishing for a flat tire or mechanical of some kind on all the rocks and roots. But then remembered that I upgraded to tubeless and it wasn't in the books. But maybe if I corner really hard, I can unseat my bead? Nope, didn't happen. I just suffered through the rest of the race, finishing around 17th Place out of 25ish or so? This was a small victory for me because a) I didn't crash b) I rode some lines I probably wouldn't have in the past c) it was better that sitting on the couch wishing I had gone.
This years course was really nice. Lots of fun single track sections. Lots of rocks. Lots of fast flowy accelerations. No major climbs. Being so close to Boston, I'll probably return yet again, even though XC mountain bike racing hurts a lot.