The last time I raced at Swanson Park was last fall and it was one of the best races I’ve ever had. The Force was strong with me that day. The trail conditions were pretty close to perfect for me, a little damp, nice and tacky for maximum grip in the corners. I took home the W and I was hoping to do the same this time around. A few things were a little different this year. The tread was dry, mostly bone dry and a little dusty in some spots. Kent McNeill, who finished 2nd last year, has been riding a lot more this season so he was going to be really tough to beat this time.
My plan for the race was to let McNeill lead the way into the singletrack and tow me along, provided I could hang on. The gun went off and I was the reluctant leader throughout the start loop. I tried to slow down enough so that somebody would take over the lead, but I didn’t want to go so slow that more than one cat passed. I ended up leading into the singletrack with Kent on my wheel. I decided to keep the pace a little on the slow side so that I didn’t blow myself up tryin’ to drop the field.
Leading the train during lap 1
At the beginning of the 2nd lap, Kent passed me and I jumped on his wheel before anybody else could get around me. Didn’t do me a whole lotta good though because he then proceeded to drop me like a bad habit within about 100 yards and he continued to increase his lead throughout the next lap or two. I continued at my own pace, tryin’ to hang onto 2nd. I figured Kent was long gone. I could see Steve Jarrett a ways back and it looked like he was starting to reel me in so I kept on it.
Tryin' to reel in McNeill
Kent’s lead had increased to about a minute by the end of lap three. About mid way through lap 4 his lead was down to about 45 seconds, by the end of lap 4 it was down to 30… I was goin’ as hard as I could and it ended up not being enough. Kent took home the With a time of 1:40:56, I brought home 2nd a scant 7 seconds back in 1:41:03, the Deal came in 3rd with a time of 1:43:49.
I came up a little short on my goal for the day, but I was still really happy with the result. Kent, the Deal and Shim are tough to beat on this course. It’s always tough to beat somebody in their backyard. So I’m definitely happy with the result.
Next up is the Snake and the Melon Head Criterium.
Thanks for reading,