After a less than stellar crack at the expert class at the Custer Time Trial a couple of weeks ago, finishing in the bottom of the heap both in my age group and singlespeed, I was due some redemption. And I would find it on my home trail of Stony Creek. The overnight and early morning hours brought a fair amount of rain, but as I was making the drive, blue sky was starting to appear. I pulled into the parking lot, unloaded my bike, watched some muddy riders come through, and registered for the Expert/Elite singlespeed class.
A few minutes were spent hanging out with team members and other riding buddies, and with about 45 minutes to go I started my warm-up. Good and warmed up, I made my way over to the starting line and got staged.
Tailwind (the promoter) has both Expert/Elite and Sport/Beginner singlespeeds start at once, with the Expert/Elite guys staging at the front. I looked around to find about 18 other riders in both singlespeed classes combined.
TWEEEEEET!!!! We were off!!! I had a good start, and found myself in 5th or 6th off the line heading towards the opening climb. Cary Marsh and Joe (Sport/Beginner) were hot on my tail. We climbed, crested the top, and hit the main section of singletrack. I passed Ed Serrat in fairly short order, with Cary and Joe both passing him shortly after.
The first stretch of singletrack went uneventfully, with me taking things conservatively due to the wet conditions. We hit a fast downhill, and then had a mile of 2-track to put the hammer down. Here I put my 65 gear inches to use, but Cary was there to answer spinning away. We headed into the Pines, a flat stretch of singletrack that flows nicely, and except for a stretch in the middle, is blazing fast. Speeds, especially in that middle section, were kept in check due to the slickness. A sport guy who had been in front of us crashed here, and we all went around. After the Pines, we had about a third of a mile of flat 2-track, and then a couple 2-track rollers before hitting the rest of the main singletrack. After we finished the singletrack, there was another ~1 3/4 miles of gently rolling 2-track with one good hill. I tried again to no avail to gap Cary here again.
Through the start/finish area into the opening climb, with Cary and Joe hot on my tail. Joe took the lead of our little group mid-lap, and I jumped on his wheel to catch a bit of a draft. We also caught and passed a rider from Wolverine Cycling Club. Towards the end of lap 2, I re-took the lead of our group, and as we approached the start/finish area, I could feel myself starting to pull away.
On the opening hill of the last lap, I dropped Cary and Joe. Now flying solo, I held a strong pace. In fact I wouldn't see anyone else from my class until the end.
I crossed the line after 1 hour 35 minutes and change. Joe Lee from Fraser Bikes told me that he thought I was in 3rd or 4th. I didn't believe him, but after the results were posted, I saw that I did finish in 3rd! Some great redemption for the Custer TT, and proof that I am capable of running with some big dogs.