Art and I drove into Crested Butte, and things seemed a bit dismal driving into town in a heavy rain. I was real glad to be able to schedule a few days there and leave my heart rate monitor off to enjoy some low key riding and have some margaritas afterwards.
I was happy to see Red Lady Mountain standing against a crystal blue sky the next morning. So it seemed a perfect day to ride 401 trail. Along the way we met some east coast guys that were acclimating for Leadville 100. We enjoyed chatting with the fellow mountain bikers along the beautiful valley on our way toward the trailhead. Once on the trail, we were zipping away amongst the mountains and wild flowers. A truly awesome trail! Every time I ride it, there are different flowers in bloom, and each time it is incredible to be there in the mountains. We managed to get back just before it rained.
With wet trails and cattle making their way up the mountains in the late season, trail choices were limited at CB, but a few days later it dried out nicely and we had a super fun ride on Upper, Upper/Upper, and Green Lake. Besides awesome trails, the mushrooms were incredible! Some were red with white dots like in a fairy tale. It was a great time in CB, but now it was time to move on and get set for our next race.
Snowmass Short track Race – At first pre-ride, the course seemed a bit rough, and with the high altitude, I had no great expectations, but was just looking for a pre-race warm-up. I used my usual conservative start to avoid pile-ups. and that put me dead last off the start. By the start of the third lap, I had passed three already, all on the climb or right after. I figured out a formula and stuck to it. Spin the flat, slower cadence on the climb to recover heart rate slightly, mash the rough section saving nothing, and smooth with no brakes to rest on the descent. It seemed to work for me, and I passed enough women to finish 9th, my best ST of the season.
Snowmass Cross country race – If you have been following any of my racing you will notice a re-occurring theme this year – rain! Yep, rain again, and the XC course became quite slick. Steep climbs became walkers and the descents were slide and steer with your butt. Once again, I was last starting, but it was only a matter of time before my east coast skills moved me ahead. I still am amazed how well my technical riding was that day. I rode every descent and never fell. Yet my legs and fitness were nowhere to be found that day. I could climb the technical ups well, and did stay on for that long never ending one, but it seemed as if I were barely moving. At the end of my first 13 mile lap, I could barely bring myself through the start/finish- and I still had another lap. I wanted to quit so badly, but did not even allow that thought to develop. It became a race against the mountain and when I finally finished I had nothing left. It was by far the hardest race all year, and I commend all the expert women that finished so far ahead of me that day. It was quite a day!