Dont ask me why I have never done it in 22 years of racing. But I have not before last weekend tried my hand of the Fort Custer Stampede. In spite of it being one of my favorite places to ride. Just never thought about it. But fueled with the confidence from words of encouragement from team Ultra Endurance Superstar Dennis Murphy I decided that this was my year. Also the team is trying to do more M.M.B.A. C.P.S. races this year!
So the race starts out in a big open field then immediately funnels into narrow single track. I got a great holeshot! Going into the narrows I was in 2nd place. After about a quarter mile, it was obvious that the guy in front had no business being out front. The pace slowed WAY down and I took an opportunity to get by.
I had a quick rush of exitement only to realize that I was now the rabbit with 19 miles to go! I held on wondering if the pace would cause me to blow up for a couple of miles. Then we were working through the wave ahead of us and we came to a switchback uphill section. Almost to the top, I was taken surprise by a left hand off camber uphill turn with roots that stopped my momentum dead! I didnt go down but the dab with enough for 2 other riders to get past. (crap)
So the 3 of us rode the rest of the lap with no changes in position, just working our way through the slower riders we were encountering on the way.
Going into the second lap I was stoked at the position that i was in and the fact that i now had a general layout of the course in my head. About a quarter of the way into lap 2 I lost my amigos in a single track section that they were able to get ahead of a slower rider that I wasnt. Never saw them again. Until about 3 miles from the end I saw one of the 2 guys off on the side of the trail(apparently having a technical). Then with daylight ahead on the last couple of gravely climbs there was a new player behind me that i hadnt seen before. The last mile or so was flat and a big ring pedal as fast as you can stretch to the finish and this guy wasn’t going to let me coast. After pushing as hard as i could to the finish, I was able to hold him off with my back reminding me that Im a A.A.R.P. qualifier!! Much to my amazement I had top honors! So the other guy that passed me either wasn’t in my class or I got past him and didn’t realize it. But i got to experience my first podium stand. It was nice!!
Other notable finishers were;
Single Speed Spin machine (Texas) Tom Stolz 3rd. Place
Jeremy (Krusher) Karel 3rd. Place
Matt (the Rocket) Remelts 5th. Place
and last but by no means least
Marnie (the talker) Tencate 4th. Place