Well, yeah, not my year at our Hell of the North. At only 50 miles, once a break gets some daylight, it usually over and such was the case this year. Our basic team plan was to keep everyone in the front and drill it after hitting the pavement as gaps usually open in the dirt and again once open, they are tough to close. Unfortunately, it wasn’t hard enough in the dirt for that to really work and everyone was still together after the dirt. We were still mostly on plan as the early move rolled away with our Ben D’Hulst, and Eric Moore and Sohmy, and Party-jak from Porcupine/Specialized, and Phil Wood (not the grease guy), so we were okay with 2 in 5 in the break. Unfortunately, within a lap Eric and Party-jack came back to the group, which left us in a bit of an odd spot. With 1 in 3, we weren’t going to chase the break, but I wasn’t super stoked about our odds either. Ben is riding really well, but he’s not so much a sprinter and it’s a pretty tough course to ride away from people on. Anyway, chasing wasn’t really an option, and the field completely sat up. After a few laps, the gap had gone out to 3:45. Brad Gehrig (Cole Sport) was there without teammates, and was on the front for like a lap (5 miles) and in the dirt the Hardwood attacked pretty good, I went after him. Long story short, this forced another split with Chase and I in there. In the end, Ben tried to kilo the break and got caught and wound up 3rd, with Mr. Wood getting the V. I got punked in the sprint in our group and ended up 5th, Chase was 7th, and the resurgent Eric Moore was 9th from the group sprint behind. Not quite what we were hoping for, but not a bad showing for our first race all together. I had a great day and a load of fun and as much as like winning bike races, that’s about all I can ask for.
I’ll update with photos when I get some as it was rather nasty. The snow had mostly turned off for our race, but it had snowed pretty much all week, and sections of the dirt were straight up mudboggin’ goodness. Our pretty white bikes were pretty wrecked, but a car wash on the way home got Sleevie and I’s machines clean in appearance, if not running smooth, again.
Thanks a ton the promoter, the officials, and volunteers. I am sure it was not a fun day to hang out in the great outdoors!