The race started and I was feeling pretty good off the gun. On that very first little stretch of single track after the pavement, a gap formed between the fast dudes up front and the rest of us. I was fourth wheel in our group and felt I had the legs bridge the gap, so I made a couple of passes once the short double track downhill started. I was still only second wheel, and I got a little carried away in the moment. I tried to make another pass on the inside of that really sketchy right-hand turn before the trail starts to climb again. I was in the weeds and I was about to lean back and make the corner when my front wheel got caught in a rut and got washed out. I was down before I knew what hit me.
I don't know what hurt worse. The actual crash or the shower when I got home. Washing out road rash (or in this case, trail rash) never feels good.
I hopped back on the pony, and fortunately Craig pointed out that I left my water and sunglasses on the trail. Yeah, I was a little dazed, not even realizing I had lost my shades. I hopped off, cleaned up the yard sale, tried to shake off the crash and got back going, but not before going from a good position to dead last.
I'm still beating myself up for making such a rookie mistake so early on in the race. I had 26 more miles to make that pass (like, for example, the double track climb right after where I crashed), and I picked about the worst possible time to try it. Instead, I spent the next 26 miles paying for it. It took a bit to clear the cobwebs, but once I did, I went out a little too hard trying to catch back on. I made a few passes, but really blew up on lap two. Motivation went down, my hip hurt from the crash, and I wished I was racing Sport again so I could call it a day.
Finally on lap three I got some energy back. It was much too little too late, but I was able to make a few passes. Although my 3rd lap time wasn't great, it was my fastest lap of the day by a minute.
Even though this is a tough course, I'm actually looking forward to next year. It's fun and challenging. I raced it two years ago as a Sport and I felt that the course got the best of me, and I felt like it got me again this year. Next year, Soldier Hollow is going down.
7 months ago