We stayed with a friend and fellow e100 rider, Brad Mullen, the night before, so that we would not have to travel as far. This was really convenient and much appreciated. Of course we got up early to eat and digest before race start. During the early morning preparations it is pouring rain out. I was dreading the mud before we even got started. Upon arriving at the Canyons--where the race started--I soon realized Park City did not get the rain that Salt Lake did. I was incredibly grateful.
The morning was cool, but not too cold. We dressed appropriately with arm and knee warmers. We were anticipating inclimate weather scattered through out the day and wanted to be as prepared as possible. It actually wasn't too bad at all though.
Here is where I made some mistakes. On the start line I was at the back of the pack. I arrived just a few moments before the start and did not have a good position. I don't tend to ride super aggresively especially in the dark (which it is at 6:00am). Needless to say I did not start in a good position and moved up some on the rode, but still was not in a super good place entering the single track. I also have too much patience and stayed behind individuals that I probably should have passed much sooner.
I was pretty nervous also and for reasons that make sense only in my mind I stayed in my small chain ring almost the entire first stage. I would go into the why's, but like I said my logic is not all that logical to most. This cost me some time in retrospect, but I did eventually ride smart(er).
Stage 2 was better. Monica was incredibley helpful offering to take my warm clothes to the next station. I really appreciated this. Of course I was not letting anyone take my vest and I had another set of armwarmers in my pocket. I did not trust the weather.
I think I had the most fun on this stage. The climbs suited me and the rooted sections was a great grade. It was just a bit too slick and I would loose traction from time to time. That is 29ers for ya! In retrospect, maybe the fact that I enjoyed this stage is an indication that I should have been pushing harder. It was still early and I was trying to pace myself somewhat.
I did not feel stable descending. I just was not smooth. Then in the far corner of my consciousness I remembered a comment that Chris made the other day about keeping my weight back. It did not make much sense then, but now it seemed much more applicable. As I made small adjustments the fluidity came back. I smiled and thought that Chris really does have some redeeming qualities.
I came into the second feed zone feeling good. Bob Saffel was there and filled my camel back with water and spiked it with a vanilla hammer gel. I wasn't drinking as much as I wanted from my bottle mix--endurance and plain powergel, so I needed more calories the only place I could get them. This was a wise move, but may not have come soon enough.