Riding towards the course, I looked up nervously at the oncoming storm clouds and took a deep breath and hoped that the rain clouds were moving slowly enough to not get to use for another 40 min or so. This year we got staring positions determined by our overall points. I looked around for the 25th marker and found my start position. The announcer welcomed us and to my surprise the crowd erupted. After the whistle blew I quickly moved up to about fifth. We passed through the maze of corners and up a slight hill completing the first lap.

Everyone continued feeling out the course and the race was rather tranquil until I was descending and entering a right hand corner and the sidewall of my rear tire exploded . Lucky I had noted the location of the SRAM neutral support location that was reasonably close by. As I ran up the hill towards the tent clicking and slipping all the way up I heard “jake no” and “shoulder that thing”. Upon arrival the mechanic worked quickly and my bike had a Zipp 404 on it. The lead group of riders came towards me and  3, 2, 1, go! I got a good push and was back up to speed and at the back of the pack -- it was not as much as a ‘brake’ as I would have expected.

I proceed carefully on the new wheel evaluating it for a half a lap before deciding it was up to the task at hand (not to mention I had a half lap before the technical section of the course). Moving back up to my original position I came down the incline took two right turns and in the middle of the road ahead was a rider on the ground. I smartly passed him and then a ferocious attack accumulated.

With two laps to go the aggression in the lead group peaked and every one scuffled for position. I lost a few positions. With one lap to go I realized that it was time to move up or lose my chance to do well. I attacked up the slight incline and latched onto a Spider Monkey for the lead out. Just then, I saw another rider who I thought would be a better wheel and switched -- to my dismay he was a slower rider. I passed through the last corner rather uncleanly. I may have burnt too many matches during the race and could not out accelerate anyone. Finishing 12th. 

-Jake Cramer