I wasn’t even going to race the state championship race (2013) at Cooper River CX….but I figured this would be my last realistic shot a getting a jersey. After finishing 4th at Whirlybird CX the day before I was feeling good.
I took the 2h+ drive down to Camden with good feelings. I told my wife before I left that the only way I lose this race is if 1. my bike breaks or 2. I do something stupid….but no way was anyone going to beat me. It’s that sense of confidence that you get from 6 months of absolute perfect training.
Pre-race was normal. I made sure to eat, rolled around for a bit, pre-rode, and did a couple simple harder, but short, efforts. There was only one corner I was honestly concerned about. That one right hander on the front side, that’s off-camber, sandy with a quick uphill turn.
The whistle blows and we are off….I drop the hammer as quick as I could. Being a fast course, the more distance I could establish early, the harder it would be for others to catch on. I was off the front 30 seconds in with the pack chasing. Kept on the gas……
Eventually I slowed up a bit and 4 others bridged up. Our group kept a good pace for a couple of laps but out of the corner of my eye, I could see Dillon Van Wart closing in and closing fast. This was the scenario I did not want. I went to the front and put in an effort but to no avail as Dillion bridged up and joing the group.
With 2 1/2 laps to go Dillon was riding point and put in an attack as I was sitting third wheel behind John Kniesly… John was unable to close so I quickly jumped around him and bridged up to Dillon. I let Dillon pull me around for a lap and a half……last lap as we passed pit 1 I jumped around him so that I could be the first into the turn I was worried about. We got through it clean. I upped the pace but Dillon had no problems holding on. As we passed pit 2, I was confident that this would come down to a sprint finish. I managed to stay on the front leading into the barrier. The barrier that was on a small rise after a 180 sandy downhill. Soft pedal, brakes, unclip, glide and THUMP!!!! I was on the ground going around the turn. I quickly collected myself and Dillon and I were shoulder to shoulder coming over the barrier. Like a synchronized CX team we remounted at the same time. Stand and pedal hard was my only thought. 3 more corners to go. I stepped hard with my left foot on the pedal and nearly yanked my right foot out of my shoe. My shoe buckle had come undone….and Dillon was gone. I had done something stupid, a momentary lapse in concentration and the race was over.
I managed to tighten it down and roll across the line in second.
As I sat in disbelief, my teammates were awesome. With very few words they showed support and encouragement….big thanks to Michael Borda, Bryan Carbone, and Kenneth Lundgren
While the disbelief of this ending will stay with me for quite some time, this will also make me that much stronger.
This race threw me to the wolves but I will return, with them as my pack.
It would be way too easy to sulk in this defeat….I will learn from this, I will be better