Like that, I guess.
Unlike the typical TMBRA race, Comfort also had a short track and time trial on Saturday. These didn't count for series points, but race payout was based on all three. Not being one to pass up a chance at making some money,
I couldn't tell how I felt warming up for the short track, but knowing how those races go, I took off from the start with one other guy, and after a couple laps we had a bit of a gap. The pace started to die down though, and Eric caught up to us. The three of us rode around for the next few laps just fast enough that no one else could start to close the gap. With 3 to go, Eric attacked, and we chased him down about half way through the 2 to go lap.
Next thing I know, it's just me and Eric. (After the race, the other told us he blew up, hard.) Eric attacked again right at the start of the last lap and got a little ahead. With some helpful jeering from the side of the trail, I reeled him back in, and even though we made an agreement not to get in any more sprints after Warda, we were looking at a sprint finish. This time I just edged him out though and got the win!
After a couple hours of sitting around, watching other races, etc etc, it was TT time. My previous time trial experiences have all left me having conserved too much energy for the end of the race, so this time I made an effort to take off a bit harder than I normally would. There were a couple times I started to think I had gone off too fast and was starting to slow down, but I just kept telling myself that it was only a ~15 minute race, and I was fine.
Eric had started 30 seconds in front of me, and towards the end I started to see him on the trail. I would look where he was and try to count how many seconds it took me to get there. When I kept coming out with 10-15, I knew I was in good shape. I never actually caught him, but even after hitting some rough rocks about 100 meters from the finish line that made me drop my chain and threw both my feet out of the pedals (right in front of everyone, of course) I finished with the gap smaller than the start split. No one else beat Eric, giving me a second win for the day.
Jump ahead to Sunday morning, and it's Get Ready for the XC Time! I warmed up with Wheel, and after a little my legs actually started feeling not too bad. I headed to the start line, and did the usual routine of sit around and wait for them to get ready to start us. We took off and I didn't go too hard, but stayed with the group.
I got into the single track in 5th, and after maybe four miles had passed up to 2nd. Eric was up the trail nowhere to be seen, so the rest of the race was categorized as chase him down time. Nothing too exciting happened for the next about 15 miles, then I started to see Eric up ahead of me.
I got close enough that he was only one switchback ahead of me. Of course that meant he knew I was there, and picked it up again... I caught up to Wheel (who was having a bad race in PSE) and drafted off him through a headwind section and the gap to Eric was starting to close, until I ran into a tree.
My shoulder hit the tree so hard that I couldn't lift my arm for the rest of the day, but after I picked up my sunglasses (which kept traveling forward when I abruptly stopped) I manned up got back to the chase.
Will had slowed down when he saw I wasn't on him any more, but when he saw I wasn't hurt (too bad) we took off again! Unfortunately, the tree took enough time out of me that I was never able to catch Eric for a sprint finish... And he ended up taking the race by about 10 seconds. Though, after nearly winning both races the day before, he did kind of have it coming.
2nd was good enough to give me the omnium though, so I got to take home a cowbell and some sweet money!
Bad news though: After the race, when I had already sat down and started to ice my shoulder, someone came up and asked about the weird scratch on my bike. I didn't know what they were talking about, so I got up to look. There wasn't actually a scratch, but there was a crack about 3/4 of the way around my top tube...
Pictures as soon as I have access to them, both of the race and the bike. Maybe even some bonus shots of me digging tree bark out of my knee with a pocket knife!