Monday, May 2, 2011
So here I am again, just one year later at my racing season opener. Once again, it is good to get out to the races and see all the familiar faces. I got there early to set up the Jorba/Paydirt tent next to the Campmor Neutral Support area, and to see Adrienne off for her Cat 3 start. It was a beautiful day, and it felt great to be at a race again. I had a chance to mingle with some of the first time racers and absorb all their excitement. During a time when many people are without jobs and complaining for what they think are very good reasons, it is really nice to be somewhere filled with happy people who feel they have a purpose that day. Mountain biking is awesome! Even after a week of emotional nonsense, I am 100% glad to be racing and part of all that I have pledged myself to in this sport.
My race: I lined by chance behind my class winner, which got me off to a great start. I had a lull of a few seconds when I hit the hill to the feed zone, and a few women passed me. During those few seconds I was wishing for a hard tail, but in a minute I will be very glad to have my FS. I hung in mentally and kept pushing over the hill. Things came together, and Ellen and I passed those few back up the next grade. I hung tight to Ellen into the single track in 4th place. I rode smooth, but when it started to push up hill, Ellen stood and rode away.
By the time I hit "the bowl" (rock garden by the cut in the log), I had caught up to the first man who was off walking. I rode right through the rocks perfectly and encouraged him as he got on his bike in front of me. He bobbled the top in the preferred line and I tried to ride around but got hung up on a rock. I did a quick run around and noticed Marianne coming up the hill behind me. My heart rate had been in the upper 170’s since the start, and I was feeling stomach cramps coming on. I knew I needed to back off a tad to hold them back, so I called Marianne by to pass. By the time I reached the end of the trail, I could see Dar was only a few hundred feet back.
I kept it rolling, but planned to keep my pace down until my stomach felt settled. Dar passed me by the end of the white dot trail and I was pretty sure that by the end of Mojo, I would be good to go again. I was hoping I could hold off any more women. I could see women behind me in the twisty sections of early Mojo, and my concentration was off a bit as I bobbled some really simple stuff in the beginning of the trail. Amazingly, all the hard stuff later down the trail I nailed. Just as predicted, I was good to boogie by the armored water crossing near the end of the trail. Big ring, and off I went. No more stomach issues.
I never saw another woman during the race, but passed a bunch of men, one man even twice. I ended up starting to get leg cramps on lap three, but rode steady for the last half and held them off to finish 6th in the elite pro/open of 13 women. It was a great first race of the season. I really love a bike handlers course, and this race was one for sure. As much as things were hurting at the end of my race, the course kept me engaged and racing until the end.
I kicked back on Saturday and made some Campmor skirts and took part in my pre-race ritual, painting toenails.