A lot slower this year, but also a little longer, too.
Started out slow again because I know the first hill will kill you quickly. I was in 5th or 6th when we reached the top. Slowly moved up to second with Sam following me by the time we were ready to head down the first hill.
Mike Hahn blew through the water station with the big arrow that was pointing down hill. I yelled at him that he was going the wrong way, but I wasn't about to wait for him--it was his mistake. I blasted the downhill to separate from Sam as much as I could without overdoing it because of the hill back up. Sam was close enough that I could see him behind me as we went up.
At the top, I was hurting. It took me a while to get my legs back and I thought it was a sure thing that Sam would be on me in no time--but he wasn't. I wanted to keep a lead on him to the single track because it's hard to make up time there. I did.
When we got to my pre-determined point (in the event that I was with any other runners, I was going to surge at this point), I put in a surge. I wanted him to give up mentally when he saw he wasn't catching me. Then I did it again because I needed to beat him to the last downhill. I didn't see him as we came out of the loop and ran along the cliff to the last downhill. I ran to the finish looking back a few times to see if he was close. Thankfully, he wasn't. I think the surges worked.
Overall, it was slow, but it was still a win, and it was my first "race" in a long time.