After the first sector of heart rates above aerobic threshold, there was no time to recover and it was on to the big climb on the course that drove heart rates even higher which lead to the single-track sectors which were all up on the way out and technical switch back sections, log barriers and road sections on the way back down, all fun, but you had to stay focused the whole time or you had a good chance of stacking it up against a tree or washing out on an off camber turn.
I managed to get a decent start that put me in good position to stay with the early leaders and once we hit the first big climb I was in the lead group. By the time we hit the top of the climb and started into the singletrack we had a group of about eight or nine and seemed to be rolling through the techy stuff pretty smooth. The second lap broke things apart a little more on the big climb which split our group up with Joe Pollato and Brook Furio (NorthbrookGarner Cycling) taking the lead. Guys started to get gassed on the long climb and by the third lap I was in a group of four with Dave Bartels (Summit Freewheelers) and we were sitting 2nd and 3rd Master 45+. We were keeping the pace very high and on the bell lap (lap 6) just before the finish I attacked the group but was pretty gassed by the time we hit the last long climb and Brett Thompson (Summit Freewheelers) and a Columbus rider put in a hard attack that myself and Dave could not follow. We rode the last lap hard and Dave was right with me the whole time. I knew that I had to try to attack in spots to see if I could get rid of him, but he was riding very sound and hard so I knew it was going to come to a sprint finish. We exited the last bit of singletrack and came onto the uphill paved finish and it was a full on drag race to the line, we were side by side the whole sprint and Dave came by me right at the end to take 2nd 45+ and me at 3rd 45+ and 5th and 6th overall 35-45+ Masters. Dave, it was great racing with you and that's what it's all about, keep up the strong riding.
TLE once again showed up in force and took top spots in all races, most impressive though was Steve Twining's dominance of the Elite race which he made winning look easy. Hats off to all my team-mates for coming out and riding so hard each and every weekend, what a great team!