I first want to say that all of our deepest condolences go to the family and friends of Craig Lange, may he rest in peace. Now on to the ride report. I wasnt sure I was going to race Angel Fire or not, but last minute decided to go. I had never heard a negative thing about the race, so I figured it was well worth the trek. Mike, Preston and myself left SB at 4am on thursday, and picked up Justin Wyche in Newbury Park along the way. After a very long drive, we arrived at our condo at 10pm local time (17hr drive). Woke up early Friday morning, walked over to the hotel and got some coffee and an amazing breakfast burrito, then went and registered. Practice got underway and I was immediately glad I made the drive, the course was absolutely AWESOME. Long, rough, long, rocky, fast (did I mention long?), it was an absolute blast to ride. Did 6 practice runs on Friday before my hands were barely able to hold the bars, then went and walked the course. For practice on Saturday I had a plan I was going to stick to. We had 5 hours to practice, and I wanted to do no more than 1 run an hour, in order to not tire myself out for the race, and I wanted my last practice run to be a non-stop top to bottom to prepare for the race run. Did my first 4 runs in a leasurely pace, felt like I had the course dialed so I strapped on the GoPro and headed up for my final practice run of the day. Hit all my lines, and felt really good for Sunday. Sunday morning I waited for the last hour of practice and I only did 1 practice run, and I stopped after every rock garden to catch my breath and not waste any energy. My race time wasn't until 2:15pm, so I had about 4 hours between practice and my race. Went up for the race a little early and walked the first couple corners to get a gauge of how blown out the course got from the CAT 3 and 2 riders, and it held up better than I thought. My race run went awesome, hit all my lines and felt like I was riding on the edge. Looking back it was one of those runs where it was either going to be fast, or I was going to leave in a sling. I made a couple small mistakes, but neither felt like I lost speed. I hip-checked a tree after the "bridge drop" and blew both my feet off the pedals but managed to scooter myself through the rock section and clip back in pretty easily. And then at the finish line I clipped a course marker and almost went OTB as I crossed the line. I came across the line with a time of 5:08, which at the time put me in 2nd (I think I was the 5th or 6th rider down, out of 30 something). By the time half the experts were down I was in 5th and decided to leave and figured I would be lucky to end up top 10. Came back to watch the pro's finish and check the results and my time held, I stayed 5th, and I couldn't be happier. Overall it was an awesome weekend, I feel like I learned a lot, and I can't wait for the next race. I might be going to the ProGRT in Tahoe on the 26th, but might opt out of that and save my cash for National Championships in Sol Vista. Vid of my practice run. Time was a 5:33, so I shaved 25sec off for the race.