After a week of epic business travel (six flights, four shuttles, three cars, four hotels, four hundred car miles) my eye lids were heavy, but my legs were fresh. The course had two main features, technical turns (often at the bottom of steep downhills), but what everyone was talking about; sand, sand sand.
At the whistle we tore off and all sixty of us hit the sand. More than a few tumbled and it was a mess as the survivors raced through the carnage and across the beach. A barrier forced all to run a short uphill and the traffic forced me to the side and I made up more than a few spots that I had lost at the start.
Then we hit some power sections before dropping down. "Let it go Evo," I thought as I let it run and then I squeezed the brakes hard at the last possible second. I made the corner and climbed hard and fought it out before entering the sand heading in the opposite direction.
I rode the sand well. There was a patch at the end of the sand that was essentially unridable. Almost everyone tried and stalled and once they lost all momentum, they bailed and ran. I jumped off early and blitzed it every time.
The technical sections were fun. Steep downhills with sharp corners at the bottom and a loose climb immediately following one of them. The downhills gave you a moment for your heart rate to drop a few beats before attacking the next climb.
Then it was onto the sand again for the second lap. I rode the whole enchilada the second time though. Weight distribution was key and pedaling like a machine seemed to help as well. At the beginning of the third lap we were catching lapped riders.
I felt my brakes and tires were well suited to the course and I took full advantage. On the last lap we were all gassed and lapped riders forced all to run most of the sand. I was dueling a guy named "Pete" and people were cheering him all over the course. I felt like I was racing the Pope. I had a chance to pass on a steep climb and thought I would hold off and make my move closer to the finish. Some traffic on the loose climb split us and I didn't have another chance. Lesson learned: On the last lap, if you see a chance, TAKE IT.
I finished eleventh, but more importantly, I beat my nemesis Spinner John, who had been stalking me and wanted to beat me more than life itself. My teammate Dave F, took sixth on the day and is sitting sixth in the series. He rode the sand very well. I am sitting ninth in the series and am darn happy with that.