This race was my last chance for a good result as a first year expert. To save you any suspense.... FAILURE!
There were 12 total riders, 4 in my age group me included. We ended up doing a mass start which I think everyone wanted anyway since it was a smaller field...why not.
I think I entered the woods 4th or 5th actually and held my position for some time. By the end of the first lap I was in a group of 4. I rode in this group for a little while until I squirled out and went off the trail only to fall over. Not really a crash, but a momentum/time killer for sure.
When I got going again the 3 others had a couple hundred feet on me, I had to run up a short hill because of where I crashed. I was in a hard gear and could not get going again at the bottom of that hill. By the time I was going again the 3 men in front of me were starting to disappear. I had lost contact.... and motivation a little bit. I was pissed.
My rear tire then started going soft. I was hitting rim on almost every little G-out, and or, big rock in the trail. At the end of that lap I stopped and found a bike pump to air it up a little to see if it would hold. I rode the remaining of the race alone, on damage control. Failure!
I finished 10th out of 12 experts and last in my age group. I think I could have saved 5 minutes without my slow leak/fall off of bike, incidents. If I had been able to hold the wheels of the group I was with at the beginning I would have fared much better.
I talked to a couple of the local fast guys after the race and told me that it takes a few years to adapt to the expert category and not to worry, just give it time.
Its crazy how fast these races are. Myself, and probably most others are looking for a way to find 2, 3, 4, or maybe 5 minutes from a 90 minute plus race. Finding those minutes is hard.
Maybe next year.