Sometimes all the stars align, everything works out perfectly and a MTB racer has a break out race. It happened to me a couple years ago at the final race of the Solitude series. Somehow I needed to beat a much faster racer in order to finish in the money. After getting dropped on the hole shot I clawed back onto the guys wheel on the opening climb and was able to put a small gap on him across the top. I was able to hold him off for the rest of the race and man it felt good. I haven't done much since but that's beside the point. Last night I think Mark had his breakout ride when he decided to race his rigid SS for the first time. The race was a training race on a pretty mellow course, in other words a perfect venue to try out the single. To set this up properly Mark has never beaten me in a race before and I'm pretty sure he's never really even come close. We lined up together near the front and this week my plan was to go hard at the start and enter the singletrack in a good position. I was in about 4th with Mark right there until my legs reminded me that they weren't quite ready for that kind of effort after yesterdays ride. I fell back into around 20th by the time we hit the singletrack with Mark maybe 8-10 places ahead of me. My legs warmed up well and I started making some passes climbing the singletrack with Buzzard hot on my heels but Mark was nowhere to be found. Near the top I saw J-dub right ahead of me and knowing she doesn't like people riding her wheel on the DH I struck a couple matches and got around her. I turned back to let Buzzard pass me before the DH started so I could try to match his mad DH skills but I had gapped him with my big acceleration at the top. Oh and BTW, still no Mark. Since I hadn't caught him yet I started figuring he must have dropped out or something. I caught a few more people on the 2nd lap and finished with a pretty nice time of about a minute faster then last week. Mark was at the finish line waiting and he looked worked over like he had just finished, not dropped out. He killed it riding the SS finishing over a minute ahead of me and he beat his time from last week by over 6 minutes! I don't know what it was but something about the rigid SS brought out the best in him. I have a feeling we'll see him racing DV next Saturday banging with the rest of the crazies on SS's. Well done Mark!