Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Raccoon Mountain XC Race

This past Sunday I did my first XC race in 2 years. The off-road duathlons I had been doing were just as intense as an XC race - actually more intense due to the running sprint against the boys before the bike - but they were shorter. I didn't really have any expectations other than I knew I wouldn't be last, so I opted to ride my singlespeed. I figured if I did well on the singlespeed, I could do well on a geared bike at the next one (and if I did crappy, I could always blame my bike, right??)

The start went as expected...I spun out on the road start and was DFL going into the singletrack. I caught back up immediately and then chaos ensued... The first part of singletrack was moderately technical and girls were going down left and right...clipping pedals on rocks, bad lines, you name it. I fought my way through and was amazed that I was able to stay on my bike through some of the less than desirable lines I had to take to get around people. I passed a bunch of girls. I didn't count them, but we started with twelve and it seemed like I passed at least eight of them...but really wasn't sure. Loretta and a Vantaggio rider were the last two that I passed, but I wasn't sure who was in front of me, other than Kim F. I motored along at a quick pace, keeping my momentum as much as possible so I wouldn't spin out on the flats. After a short time there were no girls within sight behind me so I figured I was riding pretty well.

I felt great on the singlespeed for about an hour but then the climbs really started to take their toll. I was pushing a 19 on the rear (which is all I have, so I didn't really have other options) and by the second lap, I was really starting to slow on the moderate to steep climbs. By the time I hit the "switchbacks" again, I was thinking how much I would have loved to have gears. I lost a lot of time on the second lap because I couldn't stay on top of my gear and ended up running/walking some of the climbs. I thought Carey was crazy for running a 21, but she was much smarter than I, and had a phenominal race. I rode by myself for the rest of the race and just hoped I'd had a fast enough first lap to not have anyone catch me. When I crossed the finish line, I still had no idea what place I was in and it wasn't until Loretta informed me that I was second that I had any clue about my placing.

I was pleasantly surprised, as I figured I was at least fourth, but had I known I was second, I would have dug a little deeper on that second lap. Not that I had a chance of catching Kim, but I think I would have been a little more motivated knowing I was racing for a podium spot - and at least I would have been done and off my bike a couple of minutes faster.

I did enjoy the XC race and liked the shorter format. I'm itching to do another one, but need to cool it before ORAMM so I don't wear myself out before getting to the starting line.

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