They didn't give Mike Simonson the nickname "The Simonster" for nothing! When Mike rolled away from me at O2S earlier this year he burned an image of the back of his Bell's Beer jersey in my mind. I still have nightmares of that throwdown at night and I think they're going to get worse this week! I thought I might be having one of those nightmares again yesterday as I watched the same Bell's Beer jersey get smaller and smaller, eventually disappearing into the woods not to be seen for another 27 miles. The guys a monster, a nuclear power plant possibly. I rely on the spin, technique, a meager serving of power, a healthy plate of VO2, and a cake with cherry on top of suffering to get me to the finish while Simonson relies on his 44x12 to keep the lights on.
Within the first mile the selection had been made, Simonson was drilling it with Matter and I sitting on. Into the first singletrack and Matter whacks his pedal on a hidden stump cartwheeling him into the air about 10ft off the ground and landing him smack dab in the middle of the trail. If I hadn't driven to the race with him I might have rolled over his neck in an attempt to stay on Mike, but Brian still owed me for gas money so I took the long way around and figured since the crash didn't kill him, I shouldn't either. That was the gap though, Simonson's power plant was producing maximum wattage and there was no way I was bringing him back. Matter rejoined soon after and we immediately started trading pulls, it really just turned into a normal 27 mile ride with Brian, each of us working together calling out sand or sticks in the trail, and making sure we had 2nd and 3rd secured.
Time gaps never got too much over a minute so I was keeping the pressure on and hoping that Mike would crack. Finally, at about 15 miles in I was served my small plate of power and my legs came around, I was able to click it down a few extra gears and finally started to go fast. Unfortunately at this point it didn't matter too much, but it felt good to feel fast late in the race. I eventually dropped Brian off with enough room to roll in for 3rd without problem and I continued to up the pace to the finish. I did actually catch glimpses of the lead moto through the finish shoot, but the huge roar of the crowd shortly after was the punch to the chops that Mike had taken it home. Turns out the gap was 29 seconds at the finish.
I was really happy with 2nd place, standing on the podium is always a good time whether you win or not and I felt strong in the race. Mike had another solid victory and deserved the win for such a bold move. It was definitely worth the trip home.
Thanks to my fans who cheered and stopped to say hi this weekend, it was great meeting some of you who stop in here to read and hopefully you all had a good a weekend as I.