I think that was the most exciting race I've ever done. Although off to an uncertain start, it turned into a ferocious side by side battle.
From The gun I grabbed 3rd wheel. Marie was off incredibly fast and I was struggling on Jean ann's wheel wondering why other girls like wendy, Mical and Sandra weren't over taking me. Every one was starting smart and I guess figured my slower start good work to their benefit! By the climb I found my groove and focused on closing the gap to Marie. By the second climb I had reeled in some good distance and closed it on the switch back climb. After the next woods section I attacked and passed her into the descent. From there till mid 4th lap I lead the race. I knew Marie was having some sort of trouble as I gained 20secs on her after the tech zone where I presumed she stopped. Many thoughts were going through my head. Am i super peaked...my gap was now up to 1 min, is she trying to give me the jersey, is she pacing to come back with a killer last 2 laps?
I had been able to ride really comfortably and put time into her and Wendy who was riding an amazing race. But 3rd lap Marie was putting time into me and I knew I had to step it up. Mid 4th lap Marie caught me, but I was able to stick close to her. She put about 12 seconds into me going inot last lap. I still was feeling good though and focused on closing the gap on the climb. I climbed well and heading into the descent I heard people yelling for Marie to get back on her bike as I was coming. AS she was remounting I slipped by on the right. We then headed to the neck climb with her on my wheel. As the climbed opened up we went side by side and had to veer out to overtake a lapped rider (that must have been weird for her to have us charging by on eother side!) I made it into the switchbacks first and climbed steadily not wanting to make a mistake. Marie surged by at the top and got first wheel into the woods. She made a series of dabs, but it was too tight to get by. we ended up running up the technical terrain side by side trying not to run into trees. she got on her bike first and I followed her down the next descent. On the next climb Keith was hoarsely yelling at me to attack. I did and got in 6 seconds on MHP. We were headed to the final section of the course...and the section I knew she was riding much better. I was able to hold her off for most of it, holding off one attack, but she got by me with a couple minutes to go and held on for a win of 5.5 seconds!
Had you told me the night before that it would be that close a race I would have been surprised and stoked. Coming that close to the win and loosing it though was tough. It was a mixture of great satisfaction and strong dissappointment that Icrossed the line second. I'm hoping to use the feeling of unfinished business at the world cup this weekend where I get called up second!