The cool thing about bike racing is that you don't have to be an elite athlete to get into an epic racing battle. I had the battle of my life this past weekend racing in the 40-49 base class at the second Georgia State Series race held at Ft Yargo. I had raced in the first series race the previous weekend and had an idea of where I fit in the field. Got a good start and headed into the single track in 6th place. Right where I wanted to be. I stayed with the leaders as long as I could, but couldn't hold their pace and dropped back a little. Looked back and saw no else even close, so I decided to settle into a pace I could maintain without dying. After a few miles of tight, twisty single track I could see the 5th place rider up ahead. We hit a fast downhill section and I got right up on his wheel. WTF I thought to myself, I'm not used to out-riding people on the downhill. Once I caught the 407 rider, we hit an uphill section. I'm usually pretty good going uphill, but this guy was stronger and put a 100 foot gap on me by the time we crested the hill. Next came another technical section and I once again got back to his wheel. He was just fast enough that I could not pass him and there was nowhere to pass anyway. Once again we hit another climb and I tried my hardest to stay with him but he gapped me again by 100 feet and I was totally gassed. Next came another fast downhill and I got right back to his wheel. This went on for about 30 more minutes until we came to an open flat section with about 2 miles left to go to the finish. I knew this was the place to make my move and dropped the hammer with everything I had. We were both sprinting all out and I got around him before we hit another downhill section. I gained about 100 feet on him by the end of the downhill section, but we had one more long climb before the finish. I dug deeper than I ever had and laid all my cards on the table going up that last climb, but 407 made it right back to my wheel and I was completely out of gas. Everything in my body wanted to give up, but I knew this was for a podium spot and I wanted that first podium so bad I was willing to die for it. Luckily, one last downhill section followed. I was able to recover on the downhill and gap him again. A quarter mile to go to the finish and there were some tight sections with a few slower riders that I could not get around at all. I was worried my nemesis would get by, but he couldn't pass either and I made it to the finish in 5th with my first ever podium, just a few seconds ahead of 6th place. Granted this was the old fart base class, but it was something to behold from my perspective and I will never forget this race.