Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bonelli Cup Pro XCT

"The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It's the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun." - Napoleon Hill


So we all know the saying..."If it was easy, then everybody would do it."  Last weekend was far from easy.  It hurt...and it hurt a lot!  Sure it was hot, and I hadn't ridden my bike in the dirt for more than a couple days, but the reality is that the pace was just really, really fast!! This race hurt physically and at times it hurt mentally.

But I refuse to give up. This is my dream.

The truth is, if this was easy it wouldn't excite me. Sure, winning races can be a lot of fun, but my motivation has always come from the challenge, the suffering, and the progress.  Regardless of what the results show on paper...I raced well, I did not crash,  and I was very happy to have cleared some technical sections that I'm not sure I could have rode last year.  Also, since I did this race last year I was even able to see on Strava how much faster I could now both descend and climb. Strava is the bomb. Last weekend was a challenge, I suffered, and in the end there was progress.  Tom and I have developed a mantra over the past few years..."If you aren't happy with progress, then you will never be happy."

So it's onward and upward.

Tom and I arrived into LA Thursday afternoon, picked up this sweet KIA and then bee lined it straight to Bonelli Park.


It's amazing how much sh*t you can fit in this little guy
It was beautiful out and I couldn't wait to shred some dirt.  Huge thanks to our buddy Pam for borrowing us her awesome EVOC bike case...I am in awe as to how quickly we Tom was able to set up and pack up my bike. I literally went to the bathroom to put on my kit and came out to a fully assembled ride!  I need to get one of these cases ASAP.  I rode a couple laps and instantly fell in love with my Foundry Broadaxe all over again. I am always amazed at this bike's responsiveness and it was obvious early on that I had the perfect bike for the task at hand.

I was super stoked to be able to pre-ride Friday with my coach Matt from CTS. We have been working together for the past year and half and being able to connect with him each year in person is beyond awesome. We spent most the ride picking out the best lines and spending some quality time on the technical sections. Check out pro rider Erica Tingey's blog as she has some pretty good photos showing one of the PRO only sections of the course.

Saturday rolled around pretty quickly and soon enough I was having French toast (of course!) with Tom and his cousin Jenny and daughter Phoebe!  It was so nice to have some family in LA out cheering on the course! 

 
This years PRO XCT race was given an HC category which basically means it's the highest level of racing below a World Cup, it has more UCI points and it has a larger prize purse.  This year it drew a massive field of nearly 45 riders!! It is definitely one of the biggest pro women's fields the US has seen in a very long time.  I felt proud to be a part of this moment in history...but it's safe to say this was far from the easiest place to start out my pro career...ha!

Soon enough we were getting called up to the start line and then moments later we were off!! Things were a bit messy at the start and I didn't get a very good jump off the line at all.  I also wasn't nearly as aggressive as I should have been to make up for the lost time!  One thing I learned quickly is how fast the starting pace of these races can be. Heading into the single track I was pretty far to the back and things got strung out rather quickly. I focused on riding smoothly and for the most part was really happy with how I was racing, but I could tell instantly that my body was in shock.  The pace was fast, I was hot, and my legs were not super stoked about the steep climbs.(must ride more hills!!)  I fought as hard as I possibly could but eventually was pulled with a couple laps to go.  Rats!

Photo Credit: Christy Nicholson - Echelon Design
 
Sunday's short track went better for me, I had really good start working my way up towards the front of the field. However again I was not nearly aggressive enough on the initial climb to hold my position and as a result lost a few many places heading into the single track. Since there was single track section on each lap it was a constant bridging back up and eventually I fell off the front group.

Photo Credit: Philip Beckman - PB Creative Photo

I am so grateful for this experience as it has taught me so much and given me such a greater appreciation for the speed and strength that these pro women have. It has also fueled this fire...and I can't wait to train harder and keep on fighting. I am happy to have a solid 6 weeks to train and prepare for my next round at the Whiskey Off Road!!  Time to put in some miles!!!

4 comments:

  1. Congrats on the hard fought debut and all of your progress. I hope you continue to progress and evolve to reach your goals this year!

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  2. Thanks so much Alex!! Hope all is well!

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  3. it only gets easier,, get ready for some fun at the Whiskey and As Jay would say Party ON!!

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  4. Thanks DMC!!! I am beyond stoked fro Whiskey!

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