This was my first time at 24 nationals the course was much different than what I expected instead of smooth buff single track the loop consisted of tight rocky single track with some fast dirt road sections, hardly any climbing to speak of but all the single track really kept you on your toes.
The run at the beginning was ridiculously long but I kept up front and found myself in the top ten right where I wanted to be, Nat Ross was very aggressive on the first lap and started moving up to the front so I stayed with him. the next couple laps Nat and myself traded pulls and kept ourselves in front of the rest of the field.
After couple of laps I started to feel good and upped the pace a bit and found myself alone at the front I knew it would be a matter of time before Chris Eatough would catch up, when he finally did we rode together for about 3 or 4 laps, he attacked several times out of the pits but every time I was able to bridge the gap, right before it started getting dark Eatough’s crew called him in for a clothing change seeing the opportunity I attacked hard and put couple of minutes into him for the next couple of laps I put more time into Chris then disaster struck my lights went out half way through a lap at about 3:30 in the morning. To get back I had to sit on someones wheel and try and stay with them using their lights for navigation, it took doing this with 3 riders before I finally made it back to the pits.
Back at the pits thinking I had done a pretty good job of keeping my loses to a minimum my back up battery for some reason would not work so we tried the back up system and I was missing a Cord , finally I got anther battery to work just then there goes Chris I lost an 11 minute lead because of the lighting problems, feeling a little discouraged at this point I tried to put it behind me and race on Chris and I raced together the rest of the the day and decided together to call it a day on lap 20.
On the last lap I had to go pee really badly I tried to put it of as long as I could finally I had to stop Chris gave me a look like what are you doing but it was ether stop or piss myself. I tried as hard as I could to sprint back to him but he obviously sough his opportunity and ran with it, my back had been in serious pain for about 4 laps and on the last lap was becoming a real problem, I had to stop and lay down and stretch it out several people stopped to see if I was OK thanks Frank and Josh for stopping. After stretching the back for about 5 minutes I was able to finish out the race in second place.
Huge congrats to Chris for taking the win I was very happy to give him a run for his money he is an incredible bike racer and I feel like I’m right there at the top of the heap.