The weather finally cooperated with the Heartland Race crew and we got a race in BEFORE the storms hit. We had plenty of rain in the area over the last week, but fortunately the trails at Landahl Park dry out amazingly fast. The course was slick but still had perfect traction. The rocks were a bit slick in spots but nothing too crazy. Since so many races in the area have been rained out, EVERYBODY within a 3 hour drive came to get this one in. A slight change to the Expert payout altered my race stategy. An increased cash payout was going to the top 5 experts overall instead of paying out 100% in each of the age groups. All the Expert age groups started in mass, making for a crazy first 1/4 mile. The course goes straight into the first single track climb. I knew the traffic jam going in there would be terrible, I made sure I hit the climb leading. This feat is easier said than done with guys like Kent McNeil, Steven Jarrett, Aaron Elwell, Top Price, Cameron Chambers, and Jay Chesterman just to name a few. I hit the climb first and kept the pressure on trying to force an initial selection and thin the front group out. Cameron Chambers Aaron Elwell and Steven Jarret stayed with me and we came though together after the first lap. Kent McNeil was with us till he flatted. Cameron took off at the start of lap 2 and Elwell and Jarrett came by me to go after him. Cameron was soon gone but I stayed with Elwell and Jarrett up the main climb on lap 2 before I started to slow. The heat and humidity were brutal and I figured it safe to conserve something for the last 2 laps. I did a perfect high-speed crash on lap 2 but nothing major and only lost a few seconds. Jay Chesterman was a little ways behind me for a lap or so but drifted back out of sight. I solo'd all of lap 3. Lap 4 was uneventful , till I passed a cramped-up Cameron Chambers on the climb. Kent McNeil, easily one of the fastest guy around here, was charging back after his first lap flat. He had been fighting his way through the traffic for almost the entire race and started to catch me near the finish. Coming down the final single track, I could hear him moving up past the slower traffic not far behind me. I kept the pace up as much as I could to avoid getting him on my wheel. He would have easily got me in a sprint so I avoided that and finished a few scant seconds in front of him for first in the 30-39 Expert group and 3rd fastest time overall.
Yes, I stole the 2 pics off of Mark Savery's blog !