Bear is such a sick course to have a race on. This year it really lived up to expectations. 50 mph descents, crazy strong cross winds (the kind that knock you over), lots of climbing, and enough miles to hurt even the strongest of legs.
I felt good up until around 60 miles, at which point, I realized I had spent way too much time racing like a tard and accumulating too much time in the red zone. The last 24 miles or so were a blur of teeth gritting and following wheels. My apologies to anyone that asked me to pull through or help bring back the group. I was not in a right state of mind at this point.
We had three dudes racing in the 2 field this year, my two homies Rog and Scuds. We also had a very loosely developed plan. Rog is our crit and sprint master, Scuds can climb like Pantani, and I can somewhat climb and somewhat sprint. Rog would work hard for both Scuds and I for as long as he was in the race. Bringing us to the front for that descent into hairpin turn, bringing back any moves, and helping keep us topped up on nutrition if needed. This guy worked his ass off for the first few laps and basically pulled the whole race along for the first 40 mins, a crazy effort.
Once Rog had exhausted his physical resources and retreated back to the start finish Scuds and I were left to our own. Unlike my previous experience with Bear, this year the climbs were not the difficult part. This year was all about the crosswinds. The whole Seven Lakes stretch after the feed zone was a shit show of attacking, seeking coverage, bumping and cursing. It was brutal racing and made me relish the time spent climbing up Tiorati.
Around the 5th lap or so two riders managed to get a gap after putting in a brutal attack up the Lake Welch climb. I tried to follow, but the strong winds at the top of the climb scared me off and I stayed back. Tired legs showed that most were content to let them slip away. A few were eager to work, a few eager to attack, but more than most were just ready for the race of attrition to be over.
In the end I got 9th and Scuds got 11th. My legs were absolutely slaughtered and for a solid 24 hours I kept that long glossed over gaze you get after getting working over for hours on end. It was perfect - already looking forward to Bear 2017.