i had a much better start at sunday's cranky monkey than i did last week at wakefield. got myself up to what should have been the first line of the starting grid nice and early but at least one extra line formed in front of me and then a bunch more latecomers just rode down to the line and turned their bikes around in front of us put me back a row or two.
[note: this is one of my pet peeves in racing... if there are no call-ups and you want to get up to the front of the grid the get there early and bake in the sun like everyone else]
there were a few tangles on the trip up the access road, but i managed to get around them and got up the top and made the turn in pretty good position, then turned on the jets to get around as much of the traffic as i could. i got into the bowl right behind kevin dillard of NCVC, figuring i'm just outside the top ten. the trails in the bowl make passing pretty hard, but kevin let me by on the climb out and i put a pretty big gap there pretty quickly and as i was getting out of the bowl got word that i was in 10th with a couple of riders within site so i got up into the big ring on the road transit between the bowl & racecourse sections. passed another couple of riders in the racecourse section, then another when he bit it turning onto the powerline trails.
i was feeling really good so far, riding smoothly and cleanly and on the 2nd trip around the bowl i reeled in the 6th place rider. right before we got onto the road i got around him and tried to get a gap, but couldn't really open anything up. at the bottom of the phase I trails i got past another rider, but i wasn't sure if he was a getting lapped, or 5th place. from the bottom of phase I we turn onto the CCT for a bit, then double back on the creek trail, and then doubleback again onto the CCT. through here i'm usually trying to get some recovery in, get a hit of gel from my flask and some sports drink from my camelbak but i have trouble getting my gel flask back into the little pouch that i use to attach it to my camelbak. as i unconciously slow down while i'm concentrating on the little bottle and the elastic & nylon contraption that's never given me any trouble the two riders behind me slip by. i immediately start chasing and ended up dropping the flask.
i managed to keep up with them for awhile but i'm a little shaken now, starting to tire, and my technical skills aren't what they were on the first lap so they start to build up a small gap and by the time we're heading back to the bowl 6th place is a good 100 yards ahead of me. my second lap time wsa still good, though and was actaully my best lap of the race at just a hair over 29 minutes.
the third lap i rode alone, trying at first to get back up 6th place, but at the end just trying to not lose another place. didn't see a single rider ahead or behind me the entire lap so i had to concentrate on keeping the pressure on myself, since there was no one to do it for me. finished the race where i started the 3rd lap, in 7th at 1:29:17, 3 1/2 minutes behind the winner and about 30 seconds behind 6th place.
the rest of the day was pretty quiet... we saw a little bit of the masters/singlespeed/expert race then did some shopping, tried out the pool at our new place, watched the simpsons, made dinner (heather made summer rolls; i made a beef with sweet basil stir-fry with my homegrown basil and cayanne peppers), and tried a new beer (heavy seas 'red sky at night...' saison).