We were rolling along pretty good, passing some p[people that had started before us, and I cant remember how it happened but all of a sudden Richy was on my wheel. I was feeling much better than I though I would and just set a steady pace. My goal for the race was to try to keep my heart rate in the 165-175 range, as I still have not relined myself to this point.I looked at my HRM, 170bpm, Right where I wanted to be. So we kept rolling along. This first part of the course wasn't the most technical part of the course but it did have its share of rocks, roots and mud, and was pretty slimy. All of a sudden we come into this section with a bunch of rocks and I find my self on my back. As I got up Richy rode by. I got back on rode a short distance and back on my back. This happened one more time as I was approaching Richy's wheel and I never did get back on.
I decided at this point my technical skills were waning and that I should just set a good rhythm and forget about trying to catch Richy's wheel again. So I settled in and just kept pounding. We eventually came to the first Hair raising decent and I decided to just sit back and hang on. As I was descending I saw several riders walking their bikes. I even caught a glance of Richy again and probably would have caught him but as I approached one of the other riders there was not enough room for me to get by , got hung up , and had to dismount. I got past him and down the rest of the way to the first water crossing and saw Richy just getting out of the water. This was first and worst water crossing of the day. It had rained allot leading up to race day and water levels were still rising. They had heavy cables stretched across the stream to hold onto so I grabbed hold of one and jumped in. Unfortunately I was on the downstream side of the cable and should have been on the upstream side. So when I got to the other side I had to maneuver myself and my bike under the cables before I could get out of the water.
Once out of the water, and started to remount my bike, I came to the realization that I probably should start thinking about a new pair of mountain bike shoes. The fast current had undone the Velcro Straps, so I had to take a moment to reattach everything. This happened a couple more times during some of the other water crossings as well. So back on the saddle and into my rhythm. As I started back my legs felt like anchors, this happened after every water crossing that we had to dismount for. It must have been due to the current and the colder temperatures of the water.