I needed some redemption. A week after battling like heck with Matt Battin for 3.5 laps at the D.IN.O. AMBC and seeing all that effort blown with my front tire’s unanticipated, hasty and, most of all, thorough deflation, I was able to keep everything intact and inflated this weekend to take the win at the KY-Ohio combined series for the second year.
Friday’s rains knocked the dust down and made the course super fast, which also made it relentless and allowed for no rest or recovery. Even the long road section required constant work with no time to dilly-dally with trivial things like drinking. By the end, my legs were starting to feel the effects too little fluid and a lot of pedaling. Oh and there was a biker rally, of the motorized variety, occupying the same space we were. You could get a patch sewn on, on the spot, proclaiming your distain for non-Americans, or your enthusiasm for beer, boobs and America-not necessarily in that order. I opted to have the one that simply said “A**hole” and had it sewn on my seat. Unfortunately there was not one that said “Palms” to stitch on my grips.
The start was about what I expected as far as casting; Andy Messer, Brad Wilhem and myself. Andy led out on the road, I jumped around him and opened a small gap forcing them to have to bridge back up. Once they caught back on, we rode together a couple miles until the creek crossing. Just after that is the courses only real elevation changes which I had decided to use as an attack point. Even though it was early on, I wanted a gap for some reason. It made sense at the time. What makes even more sense would have been letting them stay on, using them to draft off on the long road section then attacking again going into lap 2. But, I didn’t do that and things worked out reasonably well, so maybe not over-thinking the plan was fine. Shortly after the attack, on a fast off-camber turn, I heard what sounded like carbon fiber being dragged by a truck through a quarry; Messer crashed leaving Brad by himself for a bit.
It was OMBC series leader Ben Ortt that really made me work. I am pretty familiar with most of the regional speedsters, but Ben was the camelback wearing dark horse. I had heard the name before, but never met him, and his unassuming demeanor didn’t draw any attention on the start line, so I had no idea who the guy was that just kept coming as relentlessly as a zombie smellin my fresh (and largely unused) brain. I guess he caught Brad early in lap two, and as the course twisted and turned, I would keep catching glimpses of that black and white jersey 30-45 seconds back. In my oxygen and nutritionally deprived state, every brake squeal or pop of a branch had me convinced he had just rocketed up on me with some sort of other-worldly speed. However, the bad fortune of last weekend combined with just plain old really wanting this win kept me pushing. With about 1 or so mile to go, the course does some big, long sweeps where you can see reasonably far behind and I was able to get visual certainty that all I had to do was keep it reasonably upright to cruise in for the win.
CORA (Cincinnati Off Road Alliance) has done a great job on some fine trails up there. I would have counted riding these fine ribbons of dirt plus getting the anatomical personalization for my seat victory enough, so the actual win was the froth on the latte.