Anyway, the race started calm enough as we approached the base of the first climb. Right when we hit the climb there were a couple of surges but I was able to stay with the group. I was pleased with myself as I was comfortably sitting in spinning my compact crank chatting with a guy from Hamilton, Ontario. About 2/3 -3/4 of the way up the climb there was a crash right in the middle of the group. Three guys went down and blocked the center of the road. I had about ten feet to maneuver so I was OK but the guy from Hamilton I had been chatting with was just ahead of me and to the left. When the crash occurred he swerved right across my path so I had to come to a complete stop. I didn't go down but I lost contact with the group who seemed to accelerate when they heard the crash. I watched the guy from Hamilton continue off the road and crash in the woods. He wasn't hurt so it was fairly comical. There were several of us who were detached at that point so I was looking to hook up and work with some others but I couldn't make contact. So I latched onto the cat 5 group when they went by. They were really flying along at 35-40 mph on the downhill and false flat just past the descent. When we got to the base of the second climb we turned the corner and a lot of damage began. People were getting dropped all around. I decided to shift to my small ring and spin again as I had done on the first climb, but when I shifted I dropped the chain. I had to stop to put it back on so I got dropped from that group. I finished the first lap and started the second and saw a few folks in front of me that I thought I could catch. One guy stopped for a nature break and I passed him. I saw another guy, Ron Rosenburg and decided to try to catch him. I kept slowly closing the gap and caught him just past where the crash occurred on the first lap. We chatted a little while and then got to work sharing pulls down the descent. As we approached the base of the second climb we saw three guys just making the turn ahead of us so they gave us some motivation. We caught them fairly quickly on the climb and Ron chose to accelerate after the last guy. I chose to spin and we both caught him about halfway up although Ron pulled away from me. I ended up 20th out of 23 which was not bad for a days work, plus I was saving myself for the XC race the next day.
XC Race - Much to my dismay, I was having some issues with my MTB such that I could not use the middle chain ring or the fifth cog of the cassette or the chain would jump. I knew this before the race so I was able to make the best of it. The rain I had no control over but was not counting on. Plus, I had a 6+ hour drive home after the race and I had promised my wife and children I would be home in time for dinner. For these reasons and the fact that the Beg race started first and was only 13 miles while the Sport race started last (10:32) and was 20 miles I decided to do the Beg race instead of Sport. Two years ago on a dry day I finished fourth in the beg 40+ class in a time of ~1:06:30. I was hoping to better that time but the elements and my bike did not help. I started out well and within the first mile I was probably in the top twenty overall. I did have to stop due to a shifting problem but over came that quickly. The first four miles are all steady uphill and I caught a good dozen more riders before the top. I was enjoying the double track trails and rolling hills throughout the course. There is a short single track section followed by the Bova cross country ski hill that descends down a gutter of switchbacks about 400'. With the rain it was very treacherous. Here's a photo of someone losing it on Bova.I did not want to do that so I bailed over the bars, landed on my feet and ran down the rest of the way. I ended up passing maybe three or four folks while being passed by two who rode. I ended up finishing third in the Beg 40+ in a time of 1:09:39 and ninth overall. It was fun and I made it home to MD by 6:00 pm.