Start time on Saturday wasn't till 11:45. We headed out from our campsite and rode to the start line. Looking around in the pro field, this was the most firepower in one field I have ever done. Names like JHK, Grotts, Finsterwald, Mitch Hoke, Jay Henry, and Colin Cares toed the line. I was a little nervous, but got over it pretty quick once the gun went off. The course consisted of a 7 mile loop with a steep 30 minute climb, and then a slow flowy descent (typical ski resort race). I didn't want to go out super hard, because we had to do 3 laps. A lot of people passed me the first lap, but there was a lot of double track so I wasn't worried about it. First and second lap were pretty smooth, nothing really was going on, I just rode in about a group of five guys to keep the pace up.
Coming into the last lap, there was a really off camber turn that I got a good sized gap on. I decided to attack. I was a little worried because I would have to suffer through a full 30 minute climb before I could ease up at all. I put a lot of Women SS racers in between the group of five guys behind me right before the descent, so I was pretty content with my efforts. Coming into the last climb (about 30 seconds worth) I looked back just to make sure, and saw about seven guys in a train charging hard. I had to give 'er as hard as I could, but held them off till the finish line. I ended up 28th out of 45 finishers, not great.
I've come to realize though that this is how it's going to be for the first couple years as a pro mountain biker. I had a good race, but everyone in the field is so strong, that it will take me a couple of years to get to that kind of level of racing. Clint also raced, and he did the expert field and placed 28th of 65 finishers! Things are looking good for the Pro XCT in Colorado Springs (June 16-17), and especially U23 Nationals. Next up Mountain States Cup #2 in Angel Fire!