i have been riding the trails at clear springs rec area in the hommichitto national forest for years...honestly, besides the renegade trails in hattiesburg, before the ones we have now were even an option, i only rode at clear springs! i have been going there since 1997, i even remember when Richardson creek trail was being built...hand made by Shane Kelly...that dude knew how to build a trail!
the old skool hammer race went on before i had really started racing and i have been wanting to race it since...i know those trails like they were my hometown trails and was super excited to hear that it was being brought to life this year in the sercs!
the trails have been getting beat up pretty bad over the last few years because of lack of a normal trail maintenance crew, the forest service sucking ass at taking care of them, and bad weather on the 24hocs...all in all...they have sorta sucked for the last few years. but i will give the race organizers all the props and was super pumped to hear the word of how great they were riding the week leading up to the race. but as always, it rained the night before the race and a brutal cold front moved in bringing epic conditions for MS mtb racing in late March...sleat/snow mix with temps in the low 30's...coupled with some pretty muddy trails to top it off.
the race started with a steep but rather short paved climb to the trails...once we hit the trails it was fun but hard...they were riding pretty damn good but slick in some spots and really gumbo'ie in some places for 20-50 meters. scott got a gap on me thru the first section of trails so i had to work to bridge back...and i did by lap 1 half way point, but that's the best i would do...strange though...as i felt good and knew i would get to his wheel and we'd go from there...but something happened...not sure if it was lack of concentration or if i got complacent but for some reason as soon as i was within 5 meters of his wheel, i sorta relaxed and slipped back and by the end of the first lap, he had regained :30 on me. I entered the second lap with full intentions to bridge back up but i had a horrible start. i pushed hard up the first steep climb and sorta blew, then i was sloppy going thru some of the trails and just couldn't get it going...the body was working hard but not going fast. I went down once and had several bobbles...and by the time i went thru for lap 2, i had lost another minute and a half...so going into the 3rd and final lap, i was 2 min down and knew i would be catching scott...so i tried to stay steady and keep moving forward. i wasn't hurting too bad but the body was getting cold and the trails were a lil more slick in some spots...i would end up crossing the finish line 4 min back...lost another 2 min on the last lap and wasn't happy.
learning, learning, learning!!!!!
hopefully the 2nd round of the SERC will go better for me and i can improve on my 5th place from 2 weeks ago.