So going into this one, I had high hopes. In 2010, I got on the podium, and my fitness this year is significantly better. I hoped that things would go well and I might get on the podium again.
Like last year, my plan was to get into the woods first and hold that until the woods tightened up and made it much harder to pass. To that end, I succeeded. I did end up letting Kiran (teammate) past about 1/2mile into the woods, He was just jumping behind me to pass and I know he's a lot stronger, so I let him by.
I stayed there in third for another 5 mins. Then I hit the same damn root which bit me last year. I hit the root and went down between two trees. Instantly 2-3 guys jumped past me in the woods and I never saw them again.
After getting back up and getting under way again, I hit it hard and rocked the big ring. I was doing well until about mile 7. I was going through some gravity cavities and trying not to catch air coming out the backside. Unfortunately, I misjudged one badly and overcooked the far side. I came out in the air and had not planned to. Needless to say, the landing was terrible. 3 more guys got past me as I caught my wind and straightened out the bike.
At that point, I remembered the admonishment my better half had given me "We're going on vacation next week, don't you dare go out there and get hurt!!!!". I figured I was now in 11th place and just rode the rest of the way in. I still passed several people from other categories, but was 11th in my cat.