I have traveled to Boise so many times that I count off the landmarks on the way. One of them is a large elk sculpture on the roof of a building in Kooskia Idaho. I was the defending champion of the barking spider and the elk’s stance mirrored my pre race inventory. I was ready to defend … right?
Click, click … I just pushed the surge button and nothing happened. Still I was not worried, this has happened before. I just needed to stick with the leaders and wait for another opportunity. We were all getting strung out but I had everyone in check. The four pros were just a tad further up the climb but not much more. There was someone attacking and I though he could make contact with the lead 4 if his pace sustained. Someone was chasing him and I was following a guy that didn’t seem to have any energy any more. Just like me.
I started to ask myself why the surge button wasn’t working. Maybe the trip was too much. 7 hours in a car, with no pee stops, no eating, just focused “we have to get there” mentality. I neglected to take care of myself and scorned myself for not asking to stop to eat breakfast. The entire trip was a blur of focused “we have to get there”. And were was I now … suffering.
Then the guy in front of me just stopped. I thought to myself, “great, they are starting to drop like flies”. Then a steep climb out of a gully slowed me a bit. Just then the guy that had crashed and the one that had stopped busted past me like I was standing still. They were working together. And just like that my 3rd place went to 5th in cat 1. By the end of the second lap it was obvious that it was every man for himself. We were all strung out and I was just trying my best not to fade too much. My hopes were starting to crumble. And I was starting to write the post race report card in my head. I was not giving myself very high scores.
I settled in behind a racer I pulled out all the tricks to catch. I just hoped now I could stay with him. Maybe even take the position near the end of the lap … and the race.