Its funny how no matter how long you've been racing you still get nervous before a race. I find myself constantly checking my watch to make sure I get to the start on time, and from that constant checking comes constant verification of my pre-race schedule of warm-up, nutrition, clothing and bike prep.
Anyway, the Knobscorcher always has a good turnout and the PRO field ended up with about 25 guys all intent on being first into the single track after a short gravel road climb. I got a reasonable start and pulled a bit of a maneuver to get into said single track in a respectable position but paid for it on the first longer grinding climb. Knowing that there were still 2 hours of racing to do I eased off a bit and rode within myself and was not too proud to use my 27t front ring instead of grinding away in the 40t. This paid off towards the end of the race because I could stay on the skinny climbers' wheels then dig deep towards the top and use my size and technical skills to drop said climbers on the rooted out descents. After all was said and done, I ended up 8th which, if I'm not mistaken, is my best result in a regional PRO race. Nice!
So anyway, I probably ought to get ready to eat or something.