|Bill with the Old English feed zone|
But I was surprised to see a packed pre-race presentation theatre and a bunch of new race gear scattered about. Will there be a new challenger this year?
The usual suspects lined up on the front row, Travis having just finished marking the up-route. Melanie begged me not to take my usual speedy start, and I actually considered listening to her but the excitement of a fresh season, fast skins, and light gear took over. Off the line cadence was fast and speed felt effortless. The uproute was set at the perfect angle and quickly a gap was formed. Travis joined me after admiring the long line of racers behind, and took the lead with some fast transitions while I had some minor missteps.
Lap 2 with Melanie still nipping at my heels, I closed to within conversation distance of Travis, keeping the cadence lightning fast. The first 50 minutes flew by and I established my hold of 2nd place while keeping Travis in sight. My mind was somewhat impaired from the effort but I was able to maintain focus and improved my transitions.
The last hour was tough. My cadence dipped on the sidehill section and lap after lap I came into the bootpack almost blown. Travis was disappearing from sight, and my gap over Melanie and Steve behind was no longer widening, in fact it dramatically decreased in the final 2 laps. Still those fast laps at the beginning make me think this was my best Vert 180 yet. 17 laps of the 150m hill.
Once again the hamburger and fries at the end brought me back to life.