Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Subaru Cup Pro XCT

First things first, Subaru Cup Pro XCT was awesome!  I had a freaking blast and I can't wait to race it again next year! 

Tom and I arrived at Mt. Morris in the late Friday afternoon.  I headed to check in for the race and Tom headed out for a run.  My Foundry teammate Gus from Michigan was also in town for the event so we planned to meet up and pre-ride the course together!  Not only is Gus a pretty cool dude, but he also has some better technical skills and so it was HUGE to be able to follow his lines through some of the sketchy sections...or all of them!  There were tons of rock gardens and I kept wishing I had spent many more days at Lebanon.  But no use crying over spilled milk... so I held my breath and said a prayer.

Early on in the pre-ride we rounded a corner and there was a massive drop off boulder.  I seriously stopped and got off my bike. I'm pretty sure my jaw was touching the dirt.  This boulder is probably nothing to most hard core mountain bikers out there, but I had never really ridden anything like that.  As I was off my bike assessing the situation Pro Luna biker Teal rode by and said "ah, that's nothing, you got it!"  I figured well if you say so?  So I went for it and to my disbelief it was not nearly as daunting as it appeared!  There was also a super gnarly drop off section with a boulder garden at the end of it.  My coach had told me to "ride the shit" out of all the technical sections. I spent a good amount of time trying to master this one.  I rode all the different lines and in the end picked one and even though I wasn't sure it was the right, I committed to it. I left the pre-ride feeling a little uneasy and wondering if the course was a little over my head. 

 
Race morning I was feeling pretty good and excited about the challenge of the technical course and ready to race!  There was a pretty big field of cat 1 racers and tons of juniors.  I felt like a grandma at the start!  Some of these girls can't even drive a car, but damn can they ride a mountain bike!  Finally 10-9-8-7-6-5.....Go!  I had a second row spot at the start and I slipped a pedal ARG! So it was a total smashfest up the initial climb and I was 3rd or 4th heading into the single track.  It was a bit of a cluster right from the get go with a mechanicals and lots of fighting for positions.  Eventually things settled down and I was in 4th place behind BMC junior Ksenia.  We raced against each other at Bonelli XCT so I knew she had some good technical skills.  I went for the pass a few times but she managed to hold me off so I spent most of the race on her wheel usually losing ground on the technical sections and gaining it back on the double track.  On the 3rd lap we were both passed by another fast gal, Erin from Michigan. I'm still kicking myself for not trying to grab her wheel (I am sure I was just flat out tired!!!).  Eventually I was able find another gear and pass Ksenia on one of the double track sections and hold on for 4th place overall; 2nd in my age class! 


Sunday was the Short Track race and I LOVE SHORT TRACK!!!  It's just a full out 20ish minute smashfest and reminds me of racing cyclocross.  There is a lot less thinking and a lot more suffering. Suffering I get...thinking and strategy not so much. I got to pre-ride most parts of the course which contained a few hills, a fair amount of turns and a SRAM Ramp!!! Rad!  I had never ridden a ramp before so I was stoked!  I got a good call up for this race and ended up on the front row right next to super fast junior Kate that won the XC race the previous day.  I had a great jump off the line, but so did Kate and she managed to edge me up the initial climb.  I stayed on her wheel for the first couple laps and then fell off by 12 seconds.  That gap remained for last 3 suffer filled laps of the course. I could hear a lot of cheers from some new mountain bike friends and it really helped me push the last few laps! Every time I thought I was making some ground we'd round the next corner and Kate would have gained it back. I ended up in 2nd place; 11 seconds back knowing I had given all that I had that day. It was a well fought race and it really makes me excited to race short track again next weakened!

 
What I love most about this race weekend was getting to know a lot of really cool new people.  I watched most of the Pro Short track Race with Cooper and she sure is a fun gal....I'm holding her to her promise to show me all the sweet trail in Marquette next month.  The folks from Adventure 212 Scott, Michelle and Lisa are all such nice people and really make me want to race more WORS races. Tricia and Ben from Chicago have me wanting to see what the Chicago cyclocross scene is all about.  Both Tom and I really left invigorated and I felt very welcomed in the mountain bike world.  Turns out...the dirt makes people a bit more down to earth! 

Coming up next MTB Nationals!!! 

2 comments:

  1. Great to hear how much you're enjoying the dirt! Meeting and hanging out with you and Tom has made me again realize why I love mountain bike riding and racing. Pedal on...

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    1. Thanks Scott!! You rock and was fun fun seeing ya at Wausau!

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