The Grind on the Greenway was the 3rd in a series of 3 races in the Turn and Burn Endurance series. I had a good points lead in the 40+ category, so my plan was to play it conservatively.
The race start went well and I quickly slotted into 2nd place in my class. A lot of people drilled it pretty hard from the start. I held to my plan. I found myself leading the 40+ class when the leader flatted. I decided to focus on just riding my pace.
Near the end of lap 2, my front tire goes soft in the high speed double track section. It was pretty sketchy for a while, but I hung on to ride back to the pits. By then it was completely flat. I had my spare bike already prepared, so a quick shout to pit support/son and I was on bike #2.
The switch from a 29'er hardtail to a 26" full suspension was pretty big. I had been struggling with the front derailleur dropping the chain onto the small ring on the first bike. It was nice not to have to worry about that. The extra suspension was nice on bike #2, plus the knobbier tires were more forgiving in the sand. However, the smaller wheels didn't rollover the bigger roots nearly as nice.
I had to work the bike more, which was probably good skills practice. While it requires more work and concentration, it made the laps fly by. At lap 6 I am still on my pace to do 8 laps, with about 10 minutes to spare. At lap #7 it's clear that I can run 8 laps, but I may have enough of a lead that I don't have to. I back up the pace just a little. That way I have the energy to run lap #8 if I have to and if I see 2nd place catching me, then I KNOW I will have to run lap 8.
I cross the finish line at the end of lap 7 with 7 minutes to spare before the last lap cut off time. My pit support says that 2nd place isn't going to make the cut-off time to do another lap. So I wait patiently on the sideline ...just in case.
Finally, the final lap announcement is made. Being first in my class to complete 7 laps, I take first place. 3 minutes later 2nd place rolls through. A solid effort.
I got the check for the Turn and Burn series title in 40+. Sweet.
A cool morning turned into a warm, sunny afternoon. It felt good to race my bike, then relax with family and friends. I am continually humbled by all the blessings I am able to enjoy. It is truly by the grace of God.
See you on the trails!
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