This past weekend was the second race in the Michigan Championship Point Series, the Fort Custer Stampede. Saturday started out nice, but by time the shop closed it was gray and rainy and preriding the course was out of the question. I settled on spinning around on some dirt roads on the old rig to open up a little bit and make sure my legs were loose, then called it a night early. I woke up to a beautiful day on Sunday with highs in the low 70’s and only a cloud or two in the sky it was a perfect day to race. I got to the Fort early enough to sneak in a quick lap before the elites took off, but didn’t dare ride the finish as the elites were on course and all the tape was up. The Expert/Elite SS class goes off in front of the sport riders meaning I had a long time to start so I got out of my chamois for a bit and just relaxed. After a good warm up I got to the line with a bit early and felt more relaxed than normal and joked around with Eric Tompkins and Joe Lee a bit, as we joked around about who would lead things out. As predicted Eric took the hole shot and I snuck past Joe as he struggled to get clipped in to claim second wheel, and we were off. I looked back before the first little rise in the course and saw a stretched out pack with gaps already forming and decided to take over pace setting for Eric and attacked separating Joe, Eric, Gus, and me from all other chasers. On the first steep uphill I took a bit trickier line and Eric clipped a pedal following I hit the gas and it was down to me and Gus. Lap one consisted mainly of spinning like crazy bumping over the numerous log piles and hitting the hills just hard enough to keep myself up front. The course was extremely fast is a blast to ride. It consists of a few Michigan hills that are loose, short, and steep, a bit of twisty turny stuff, a lot of fast bermed corners, and a stream crossing. Going into the second lap I decided to see what would happen with Gus in front and let him by to do a little work, not much changed as we kept our gap on Eric with Joe a bit further back. After the water crossing I took over hoping that I could keep the pace high enough that Gus wouldn’t be able to get around me, and it almost worked. I hadn’t ridden the finish in my preride and came into the 2nd to last turn spinning out with Gus still on my wheel, I completely forgot the corner was there and was in my roadie tuck, hands in the center of the bars leaned over and had to tap the brakes going into the corner giving Gus the leverage to go inside me on the corner and hold me off for the win as I rolled across the line overlapping his wheel but not quite good enough for first, Eric came in about 45 seconds later with Joe a bit back from him. Another 2nd isn’t bad as it puts me in the drivers seat for the CPS. Unfortunately I am now left with a lot of what ifs, I know I could have ridden harder, but counted on my ability to finish strong to win it for me. So close.