Rolling to the starting line for the Sportsman 350 race was surreal. I was finally going to do this! The grid was pretty small, about 15 bikes, so for the first time I let myself contemplate a respectable finish; maybe even get a trophy for third place. When the flag dropped I launched forward, shooting ahead of the pack. "Oh crap," I thought, "not the holeshot!" I expected the rightful leaders to come blazing by at any moment, but I kept my head down and rode the wheels of the little Honda, sliding the front and then the back as I barreled through the turns. Pulling onto the front straight, the suspense was too much and I had to look back. The pack was just coming out of the last corner, 100 yards behind me! When the checkered flag fell, I'd won by a mile. The ensuing endorphin rush was so strong that I nearly ran off the track on the cool-down lap. I was beside myself with joy!