This race was one I was looking forward to because it takes place on some of the best trails in NE. Platte River State Park has a ton of climbing for NE and is pretty technical It's what real mountain biking is supposed to be.
Ryan and I headed out early around 9 to try to get to the race plenty early to cheer on Paul in the Cat 3 race and to have plenty of time to get a full pre-lap in and have some time before the race got started. We got to the course and got signed in and changed and waited a few minutes for the Cat 3 guys to finish and have a quick chat with Paul and Millhouse and then were off on our way to pre-ride the course. We were quickly reminded about the brutal fire road climb at the very beginning of the course. Right after we got off the climb and into the singletrack I caught my tire on the side of a log and flatted. Ryan was cool enough to hang and help me get it changed. Not exactly the way I would like a pre-ride to go but better to happen now then during the race. After we finished our lap which took longer than expected I went to my car and got a new tube, co2's and switched bottles and hit the start line.
When the gun went off I tried this time but I couldn't stay in front. When we hit the big starting climb I just dropped and couldn't keep up and after it finally was over I was not in a very good spot. Once I got into the singletrack I started to feel better and got into the flow of the course. Then it was time to start picking people off and working my way through the traffic. As I was going through my first lap I started to have stomach issues. Last week I was able to get by without any. I think that it happened this time cause I got the last bit of fuel in me later than I would have liked since I took so long on my pre-ride. I got into no man's land between the packs and just tried to go as fast as I could and not throw up.
I eventually started coming up on some of the people that were still ahead of me and was closing down the gap on the guy who finished second last week. I thought he was right up towards the front and when I caught him I stayed with him through the rest of the 1st lap and through most of our second and final lap. I tried to make a move to get around him a few times but he countered pretty well. He also had a teammate of his in front of him and they were not going to let me past both of them so I ended up being stuck behind them. I kept rubbing tires cause he was slowing me down on a lot of the sections but I just couldn't make it around.
As we were getting close to the most technical section of the course which is a rock garden about 2/3rds the way through I was really thirsty and decided to take a drink. Big mistake. Right as I went for the bottle I hit a rock and went down hard. I got tangled in my bike and when I got out I must have hit my shifters cause my drive train was locked up and I had to spend a bit of time getting it straightened out so I could pedal. Once I got going again The 2 guys I was behind were gone and I just tried to push to try to catch up with them but I think the crash got to me cause I was making dumb mistakes and not clearing obstacles like I should. The thing that frustrates me is that I miss judged where I was at and right after the spot where I crashed there was a nice open flat section that I could have easily taken a nice long drink.
In the end I came pretty close to catching them but I finished in 10th place. I'm not very happy with the result since I feel like I could have easily gotten top five or even the podium. One thing is for sure is that I will be doing more training at this park since it is only about 30-35 minutes from my house. I need to get on those kind of trails more often to really work on climbing and technical skills.