The race unfolded very differently, But the results were the same.
A sweeping right turn leading up to the fly-over and a wide open, slightly uphill concrete section ensured that the quadriceptuals would be burning before the race was even four minutes old. Just enough to get the heart rate up, start the flames burning in my lungs, and slightly blur my vision before heading into a twisty, bike driving, bumpy section, and the realization that I was feeling awesome and ready to make it a race for the second day in a row.
Some jostling at the front, and Amanda Miller was off, with the rest of us giving chase. The course run in reverse meant that a few of the ridden-in lines from the day before that dominated our site-lines were often time way wrong. There was a lot of movement back and forth on the first half lap, and I couldn't tell you what position I was in during any of it. KFC came around me right before the sand, and I stuck her wheel into it before we were all forced to dismount and plow through anyway we could. Another shuffle of the order and gaps began to form.
I bobbled the first creek crossing, forced off my practiced line and not quite clipped in from the previous dismounts. Passed and plowed, I gave chase, and found enough raw power in my legs to mete out a bit to grab the wheel in front of me.
Round the first lap, and the chase was already beginning to separate into ones and twos. I found myself equidistant between Becca Fahringer and Kaitie Antonneau, with enough of a gap on either side to lose them around corners, but never quite out of reach... until the clock ran out.
I took a few chances trying to bridge the gap to third. I took one corner so hot that I whipped around and was promptly pealed off my Van Dessel FTB by a tree. I righted myself and remounted, only losing a couple seconds, but it was enough to let the podium slip out of my grasp.
Despite the fall, the wet grinding sand pits, and the wet and muddy root sections, I never felt the need to pit. Which means I didn't get to take too much advantage of the generosity of SpokeHouse Cycles and Daniel Ritter, my incredibly supportive pit crew for the day. I felt like a queen atop my Van Dessel, charing into the fray! A solid, fun ride. What a course! What a great cheering section and venue!