So, no pictures to go with this report, sorry. But who (other than maybe Peter Sutton) could hold on to a camera over this terrain anyway!
It was a great day on the bike. Alex S., Jorge C. (DH) and I got up early and piled into the truck fully expecting to arrive early for the start, turns out we made it up to Cedar Beach Resort on the north shore of Musselman's Lake in record time and just hung out getting cold for an hour and a half... About 60 people finally showed up for the start. Neutral roll-out and off we went. Pretty much right away the group started shedding riders, but Alex, and I stuck with the main group until the first swampy bit. Alex had a great ride through the first "section" but still needed some time to get back in touch with the front group. Meanwhile, I decided that I had neither the ability, nor the desire to race through the swamp and took it easy, thus losing touch with the main group. I ended up riding the 18 or so km to the beginning of the next "section" by myself, and really only saw two riders in the distance behind me. Before the race, Jorge and I had agreed to meet at the beginning of the rail trail, called "The Trench" by the race organizers. I took the opportunity to have a bite to eat, and after a short time, Jorge showed up, himself having rode alone to the top of the second section.
Anyway, we got back up to speed and caught a couple other riders, but spent most of the day with each other and occasionally Merdi's (as in Heath, Merdi and their cute boy, Sam) uncle Joe. The sun was out for most of the ride, and even the nastiest "sections" seemed tame compared to our pre-ride of the event. Heath and Mardi pulled alongside in their BMW at one point to ask if we needed anything, I couldn't make up my mind between a Mai tai and a Margarita so passed up the offer and continued southbound. For the next "section" the organizers added a 2k section of great singletrack through a pine forest... By the two thirds mark, Jorge was feeling pretty tired and I tried as much as I could to work with him so we both wouldn't cramp up and keel over before the finish. Speaking of which, as it turns out, there wasn't really any cheering going on when we finally made it in, even Alex reported that when he came in behind the lead group, they weren't taking names to assign finishing places... So, we put the bikes in the truck and headed inside for a pop, a bag of chips and some veggies... and were surprised to be awarded a bunch of Rapha stuff, a jersey for me, rad euro-cross-knickers for Alex and a cool cap for Jorge!
So, there you have it! No bumps, not much bruising (just my shin, ouch), no mechanicals... and more importantly, none of the rain they had been calling for! Yay! Dru, out.