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Today’s race had three separate loops with the first being 38-miles, the second 49, and the last one 14-miles. It was really dusty, and there wasn’t much of a breeze so it was going to be important to be up front early. Luckily I had a great start, and at the end of the bomb run I was right behind Kendall with Kurt right on me. I tried to make a pass on Kendall early, but it was just to sketchy so I ended up backing off and waiting for the dust to clear. The first loop was pretty fast and I was just trying to key off Kendall’s dust. Unfortunately I ended up missing a turn (20-miles in), and Kurt was able to get by. I saw Jake wasn’t to far behind me once I got into 3rd. I lost a little time in the fast valleys, and just wasn’t feeling confident in the cross grain. After we finished the first loop I was about 1-minute back from the lead and about 50-seconds from Kurt. Jacob wasn’t too much further back in 4th. The second loop they put us in some slower rocky stuff. This is where I finally started to feel comfortable, but it wasn’t until Jacob got right on me that I really picked it up and started to close in on 1st and 2nd. I was pushing it pretty good and finally got within 15-seconds of Kurt. At this point, I could see he was right on Kendall too. This turned into a four-rider freight train, which was actually pretty cool. The dust was pretty bad, but I just had to sit back and see if they would make a mistake. At the 40-mile mark, in this loop, I stopped for gas at the alternate pit (just outside of Kurt’s dust). When I left I lost a little time again, in the fast stuff, just before we made it back to the main pit. Going out for the last 14-miles I knew it was going to be rocky and really was hoping I could close up the gap again, but we had a valley section before we got into the hills. Jacob put a great pass on me and was pinning it across the desert. I ended up backing off and letting the dust settle. Then a couple miles later, he lost the course right as we were going into the mountains so it put me back into 3rd. I just tried to ride a good pace, but wasn’t closing on the guys in front of me so I ended up with another 3rd.
It was nice to feel like my speed was right there with the leaders. I’ve been feeling really good for the last month, and felt I was going to do really well a couple weeks ago at the WORCS race until a big crash on the first lap. I only started riding a few days before this race, and my fitness probably wasn’t where I wanted it to be. However, I felt really good on the bike! The bike was awesome and it’s a great feeling when you’re confident while you’re wide open.