It all started today, my first expert race. Matt and I rode up together, and found a big group of Wooden Wheels racers. It was good to see so many show up to race. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining and it was actually a little warm. The course was in great shape, with the exception of two 20 yard mud bogs, it was dry and fast. We rode around and tried to warm up, but it was tough getting the heart rate up on all the flat sections of the course. Matt talked me into doing the start climb. It was brutal but ridable. We get to the staging and they don't have any signs for the Single Speed class. They just put us off to the side and started us after the Vet 1 group. We had about 8-10 in the SS expert and 4 of us raced for Wooden Wheels, pretty cool. We had Keith(super fast) Goulet, Matty T, Mark Peterman reality tour. A nice fast group. Tofer was out and Ben Yoder(fast big guy), a nice dude named Tim who rode for Guys, and some dude from Pittsburgh who totally crushed everybody, he took off up the start climb and was never seen again. We hit the flat single track section and had a nice 4 man pace line with Keith, Matt, Ben and myself. We got a good gap on the rest of the field and just rode together for a while. We eventually lost Ben but Tim caught on and rode with us the whole time. After the first lap heading into the climbs Keith got away, so it was down to Matt, Tim and I. I was starting to hurt, towards the end of the second lap Matt got a gap on me. I pulled him back just before the climbs and we stayed together for a while, with Tim not far off. Once we hit the last part of the third lap I was really hurting and I told Matt to go, and don't wait for me. It was pretty cool, just before Matt pulled away, we passed a guy we raced sport with, who started 4 minutes in front of us. That gave me a little boost.
Walking up Bitch Slap hill for the last time I saw Matt and he wasn't,t that far in front of me. Then going up the last climb of the day I saw I had gained some ground and really cut loose on the down hill, but it was too late. I wanted a better result today but 4th in my first expert race wasn't too bad. Especially since Keith, Matt and I were only separated by a couple of minutes, I think Matt was less than a minute in front of me.
The team had a good day too. I don't know all the Sport placings but we had a good turn out and that is what mattered today. I do know that John(big ring) Cleary finished 2nd with some ridiculously fast time, not to mention he beat some really fast guys, like Ransom Weaver who I think won a lot of those races last year.
I didn't win today but I had a pretty good day for my first expert race, and I plan on only getting faster. The next race for me is in two weeks at Michaux. It should make today feel like a casual group ride.