Monday, July 21, 2008

National Championships at Mt Snow

I am still trying to unwind, take a deep breath and realize all that happened in these last two weeks of racing. The first thought that comes to my mind is that I am part of an incredible team of generous and giving people that have been so instrumental in making this successful weekend happen for Team Campmor. Without them, and especially Art, I may not have even been at the race this past weekend.

We arrived on Wednesday, and found an unusually dry XC course with steeper climbs added, as well as single-track taken out and replaced with new single-track. The course was very rideable, but was strewn with roots and off-camber sections that would completely become a new creature if soaked in rain. Call me sick, but I half hoped for a little rain, to lube those roots up for a fun filled race. It wouldn’t be Mt Snow without the wet roots.

I also took a few runs on the Super-D course and determined that it was indeed too fun to miss, and talked my teammate Dar into doing it also. Marianne, Laura, Dar , Jess and I were stirring a lot of attention on the lift lines, as we always seemed to appear like a pack of giggling girls. Plus the lift attendant was quite a Titus fan, so we must have had some cool factor going on, and every time we were in the lift area, all we heard was “Campmor Girls!”.

Friday night before my race, my half hopes came true, when a severe thunderstorm passed over the mountain. It woke me from sleep, and I could see the curtains in the bedroom flying in the strobe light. Cool winds rushed in, with pounding rain and flashing light. All my life I have dreaded this situation the night before a race, and now I am excited by it. I am not sure how I was transformed, but I like it. I thought as long as it did not rain long enough to cause mud, I would be golden. .....The rain stopped in 30 minutes

Saturday I took the line, and when the gun went off, a woman I did not know, bolted. I chased down hard, but I could barely hold her wheel. As we reached the steep part of the climb, she spun out in the greasy mud. I moved to the side in hopes of passing her, and rode by her, pressing hard over the top, my heart-rate soaring. As I passed the infield, I heard people cheering and calling me by name, and then I heard cheering for the woman I had just passed. The next steep climb came way too fast, and I was nowhere near recovered, my stomach now starting to cramp. By the time I was turning into the single-track at the top, I could see the other woman was off and pushing her bike up what I had just ridden, which gave me a little comfort.

Plodding away up the many climbs, passing people in other classes, I finally reached the summit to start my descent. "Be like water" was my mantra. Oh boy, what fun it was. Slipping and sliding, staying loose, I got on a good wheel. She took great lines, and I found myself at the bottom way too fast. Recovered and back on the climb, I noticed that I did not seem to have my climbing legs. I proceeded to spin a bit more than usual and tried to find something that I could work with. I eventually got into a groove, and once again I found myself at the top ready for the romp down the mountain. This time, I was getting lapped by the lead single-speeders and experts. The traffic was a bit dicey as a few men crashed trying to pass me, but I kept it upright myself staying on the low side of the roots. At one point I got a little sideways with the rear end, causing a little “tighten my sphincter” panic, but I kept the front wheel pointing downhill, and momentum straightened me out eventually, causing me to let out a sigh of relief that morphed into a juvenile giggle.

As I neared the bottom, the cheering was incredible. If I didn’t hear my name, I heard things like “nice bike” and “nice wheels”. People were just cheering for everyone. As I turned down the last hill, I could taste the victory, and this is something I did not get five years ago ( when I did not know I had won until the results were posted, because they forgot to mark legs). Into the big ring I went, and coming into the finish line at Mt Snow with all the local friends cheering was exhilarating. I can’t tell you how much I have always wanted to win this race at Mt Snow, and to do it feeling like I had found peace with the roots felt even better. My fitness did not feel like it was my best, but I technically rode very well and my bike was just an extension of me, handling perfectly.

I was pretty pooped on Sunday for the Super-D, but it was a blast!! The Campmor girls rocked it in the Super-D. I am so thrilled to have Dar be our new Super-D National Champion, a very deserved win for her. I am lucky to ride with these incredible ladies, and it was awesome to stand next to them on the podium afterwards in our Campmor Podium sweep. Besides doing well myself, the team was fantastic as a whole, especially Marianne winning the sport red and stars jersey in her first year raceing. Truly a great weekend with friends to savor in my memories.

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