Trusty steed, except all those dropped chains.
Ten minutes after noon, when the expert riders rolled out, I lined up at the start line with the sport riders. We were in for a full lap plus the trails/roads to get us to from the Mohican Adventures start line. Shortly after leaving the start line we hit a gravel, steep uphill piece of singletrack and the bunch clogged up. Off the bike and pushing but we were going again shortly.
Though I didn't want to go out too hard I think I may have. I was passing riders in the first five miles only to later be passed by them. Maybe do that different next time. At the start line I had eaten two thirds of a Cliff Bar and I finished eating that five or six miles in. On the downhills to the covered bridge I was feeling bold and was flying along pretty good. I passed a couple guys on the downhill.
Crossing the covered bridge I sucked down half a GU and then started the climb. Maybe it was the aggressive downhill, but I didn't feel able to attack the climb like normal. More likely, it's a lack of trail riding. I felt like I really had to monitor my pace not to pop.
Coming into Trailhead B I felt pretty decent thanks to keeping it in check up the climb. I refilled a bottle with some ice cold water. It was the warmest day of the year so far and I was feeling it a little. I poured a bottle down my back and it took my breath away. A handful of dried apricots and cashews gave me some good flavors.
From Trailhead B to the mile 19 crossing I was going pretty good. Unfortunately I dropped my chain about the second or third time of the day. Something's up with my drivetrain as my 1x10 was doing quite well last year. The Type 2 rear derailleur was doing it's thing but not today. I dropped the chain at least four times. The cost me five or so minutes I suppose, but I didn't get too rattled by it.
After mile 19 road crossing I sucked down another half GU and kept it truckin' best I could. I felt like I was either going really fast or really slow, depending on terrain. My bike handling was pretty good today. I was keeping off the brakes and cornering well. Some of the hills bogged me down a little.
Coming down to the campground I let a guy pass me just before a switchback only to see him crash right in front of me. I cornered through on the inside line and he said "I'll follow you, I've never ridden here before." Yeah, good idea.
As we crossed the bridge to campground my chain dropped again and rode away. That one sucked as I would have liked to push to the finish with him. After the section of trail along the campground I popped out at the start of the State Park loop. Hmmm... I really had no idea how the race finished from here, but soon found out.
We went part way up the opening climb before branching off to the Mohican Adventure property. There was a super punchy exit I was not at all prepared for and ended up hike-a-biking with several other guys. Then there were a bunch of gravel roads, a sharp right I missed and had to circle back for, and some other varied gravel campground roads. There was more racing in the campgrounds than what I expected but now I know.
I cranked down a gravel road to the finish line and crossed 2:40:XX after starting. Cool! My goal was to be less than 3 hours and I thought 2:45 would be a good challenge, though I had no idea how much the additional trail beyond the State Park loop would add. I was mostly pleased with my effort and it was a perfect day for a mountain bike race!