Dustin White, back on that top spot at Ft. Yargo!
|Hello everyone! I have missed you because it feels like forever since I got to write one of these stories. However, now that I'm back, let me tell you about this weekend's race at Fort Yargo. This weekend was another double event stop. On Saturday we had a time trial followed by the cross country race on Sunday. Coming off of the last race I was leading the Georgia series but in second place for the Southeastern series behind my grand nemesis, The Harrison! That meant one thing....this weekend needed to go well!
I showed up Saturday around lunch time to pre-ride the time trial course. We raced the 3 mile running leg of that mornings Xterra race. The course was tight and flowy for a moment then went up a gradual climb that seemed to go on for about a mile. Once we crested the hill, we turned and bombed down it on some loose double track with 2 nasty left hand turns. Finally the finish was on the apex of a walking bridge that went over the lake....interesting choice there! I edged up to the starting line to go off 3rd behind Mr. Pro himself, Ryan Woodall, and the mythical Mose who I mentioned in the Macon race report. I started my run pretty terrible, not being able to flow or get into a rhythm. Once the long climb came, it was full on assault mode time! That pace never let up and I came to the final bridge sprinting like I was concluding the Kentucky Derby. Skidding to a stop...that is not a joke....we only had about 30 feet to go from race pace to a standstill to not hit the timing table....I was there greeted by the race promoters who wanted me to stand still while they wrote down my number. Little did they know I was about to throw up on them but that is neither here nor there. As I rolled away I heard Teri mutter that I had the second fastest time followed by "who was that?" That is a special feeling when people don't think you can go that fast and to answer her question...the name is Dust Bunny....Uncle Dust Bunny! For anyone interested to know how fast that lap was....strava says I averaged 16.6 mph. I can't vouch for the GPS accuracy, but I did entirely want to throw up everywhere, so that may be accurate. I am almost certain Ryan held about 17 mph....Lord help us all.
Sunday's race included the start of the time trial but then went around the entire lake at Fort Yargo. A lap is between 9-10 miles and is rolling / tight terrain. No features really stand out except when you near the finish, things transition from single track to roads and wide open fields. You then snake near the banks of the Lake and finish up some steep uphill pitches, a brief bumpy downhill, and then a 20 meter sprint up hill to the finish.
Although the flyer for the race said we were going to do 2 laps of the course, we were awarded the pleasure of doing 3! Yay 30 mile mountain bike races! On lap 1 I made a few moves up on the long climb and before we started into the long, tight section, I hit the front. Trying to stay steady, but keep the pace up, I ended up creating a gap. I stayed out there until roughly mile 8 when a group of 4 folks caught me led by local legend Patrick Smith! As we started up the climb on lap 2, words were coming that Mose Howard and one other 40+ racer were catching us. I will not lie, after noting the strength and skill of Mose, my ears perked up. He came around us right before the tight section and I could not help but sprint up and hold onto his wheel.
Riding behind Mose on lap 2 was liking having front row tickets to a ballet that is staged by 185 pound ex-motocross racers. The man flows, hops, nose wheelies, or whatever elses over obstacles and then sprints all out up every hill....you are awesome Mose, truly awesome! This move dwindled my race down to 3 guys latched onto Mose's wheel (myself, Harrison, and Justin McMurrer who is attending all the races in the series as well). As we concluded lap 2, Mose waved us around. I took a pull leading up to the long climb and then waved Harrison around to let him set the pace. As we crested the climb intact I was now awarded the pleasure of riding tight twisty sections behind Harrison who could easily be called mini-Mose. This 130 lb teenager is also throwing sick whips and twists around the corners! I don't know what water I missed out on growing up, but I wish I could go back and have a glass to get those skills!
After roughly 2/3 of the way through lap 3, Harrison and I were off alone and now truly dueling for victory. I really only had one game plan in mind...when we got close to the finish, I wanted nothing left in the tank!
When the course opened up to a field / road section, I attacked and came in front of Harrison. Although the next 5-7 minutes were kind of a blur because I was in a full out sprint, at some point I think I had about a 5 second lead on Harrison after cresting a hill. His teammate was in the woods motivating him to come around me and push hard to the finish. Wiping the drool off my face, I kept the sprint up and felt like I had a good gap going into the last 100 meters....I was wrong.
Harrison is a champion ladies and gents, that kid will never give up and I respect that immensely. In the last 100 meters, over some bumpy rooted sections, Harrison took advantage of his Sworks Epic and closed the gap down to sitting on my back wheel! We had only 30 feet of grass before a 90 degree turn up to the finish sprint and we were neck and neck! I came into the final turn first and made sure not to slide out....as soon as I was headed in the right direction, I mashed every ounce of energy I had up the hill to take the win! That was a battle ladies and gentlemen and I narrowly escaped as the victor....wow!
After the weekend's haul, I have now regained the lead in the SERC series and am still leading the Georgia series. I won't be attending another series event until the first weekend of June, so until then go enjoy the outdoors! If you want to enjoy some of these battles and general fun, come check out the 9th Annual Canal Crown starting on May 18th!
|Click here for the Ride with Dustin page complete with race schedule and post-race reports.|