We are 6 races in to the WIXC series this year. Not quite halfway on the season as there are 13 races this year. (How time flies) The races have been epic so far. Rain, mud, dust etc… all the usual suspects. Basically, all the stuff that I love so much about the sport, and at the same time the things that make it so difficult.
On the season so far, if you glance at the results, I have 5 first place finishes and 1 second place. Woohoo, you might say. On the surface, it looks like a dominating performance. But, in reality most of those are really hard fought. Basically, Pete is pretty much riding the same pace that I am. I have been able to best him at times and pull away, but never very far.
Hillpoint – Pete beat me fair and square. In fact, he put a whole bunch of time into me. I like to think that my eyesight was really bad without any goggle inserts and correction, and it was, but regardless it was pissing down rain and he put it to me.
Mountain – He holeshot the race and led for the 1st half. It took a huge effort for me to get past him and then to go hard enough to put time into him.
Sugar Camp – Pete holeshot again and led for almost half the race. I finally got my act together in the middle and tracked him down for the pass and the win.
Kewaunee – My least favorite course, and the same course that Pete seems to like and beat me on last year. He led me for half the laps, then I got tired of eating dust and decided to back it down and let him go. In reality, he should have won. Unfortunately for him, he flatted and I went on for the win.
Lakewood – It was a good straight up race and I beat him by just 20seconds though. This was a new course for me, and I felt like once I got in the groove I was pretty fast, but obviously not as fast as I thought.
Navarino – this past weekends race is where the tale really comes to a head. Pete and I battled from the start – I holeshot and led him into the woods, and then we proceeded to trade the lead and bang into each other in turns for 2 solid hours. We literally were never more than a handful of seconds apart and entered the timing tent together almost ever single lap. During the race, I figured out where he was fast, and I suspect he figured out where I was fast. I passed him in one of the spots that I felt I was fast and then worked the rest of the lap to hold him behind me. We finished just 2 seconds apart at the line. I had just one drink from my Camelbak the entire race, Pete said he had zero. I was/am still completely destroyed from the effort.
Last year at Navarino, I was at 91.1% of the pace of Zach Herfindahl – winner of the race. I was at an average of 29.79mph. This year, Zach was 2nd to Brandon Houts (who was not there last year), I was an average of 31.33mph or 90.99 of Zach’s pace. In effect, I was the same ratio as last year to Zach. But last year Pete was just at an average of 27.58mph last year.
Do I think I could have been faster without the breathing problem I was suffering? Maybe! But that is not the point. Pete is way way faster this year than last, and the rest of the season is going to be a battle each race. Our pace is pretty much the same and we are always right on top of each other.
I cannot wait for the next race together.
Video taken by Monty Griffin of the 1st lap at Navarino