Yesterday was my best race of the season as well as my best NMBS result to date. Conditions were pretty close to perfect for the women’s race. It was a comfortable temperature with a slightly cool breeze. We got to race at 11:00, a nice change over last weekend’s 2:45 start.
I was called up to the last spot on the front row as I am now ranked 8th in the series. It was the position I least wanted however as it would get me caught on the inside of a tight corner. If I had the ability to get to the corner first I would have been stoked, but knowing the other girls up front can out power me in a short burst I chose to line up slightly behind and between Georgia and Heather.
I’m not quite sure what happened in the start, but somehow I got shut out and was nearly down in a crash. I found myself with way more traffic than desirable so I sat in for the short single track section until the road opened up onto pavement and then I hammered. All of a sudden I was up to top 10 and was able to continue picking girls off on the single track climbs. By the ¾ lap mark I was in the top 7 and trying to get past Irmiger who wasn’t ready to just give up her position. Eventually I got past her and Katie Compton and put some distance into them. By the flat stretch Alison Sydor and Katie Compton had teamed up to pull me in and I got to sit on a wheel for a bit. Compton is not only a good cross racer, but a talented descender as well with enough finesse to be hopping her rear wheel over rocks. The three of us came through the start finish together and headed out on lap 2. Knowing I was the strongest climber of the group and weakest on the flats I attacked the base of the climb and opened a big gap. Sydor and Compton came back to me after the pedaling descents and flat sections. Can’t say I was descending so hot. I had three spills in the preride getting caught in ruts so chose to be cautious and stay upright rather than risking a crash. Alison and I eventually stretched the gap on Compton and were closing on Shonny and Haywood second lap. Third lap I went on the climbs again as I was feeling quite the climbing machine and didn’t want it to come down to a sprint between Alison and I. Haywood and Vanlandingham had opened on me at some point and although I could gain on Sue on the climbs she crept away from me elsewhere. Last lap across the flat it was Alison and I again. I tried to flick her through to take a pull, but she wasn’t willing which worried me because I could see Jamie Whitmore and Wendy Simms behind us. I took a slight crash on the last descent and Alison right on my wheel was able to squeak by and open a couple seconds. We both hammered the last flat, tough technical little climb, the last couple of whoop bumps into the final short descent and finishing stretch. Alison took 6th and me 7th beating last year’s best result of 8th at Brian Head.
I think taking Thursday off and Friday light gave my legs the extra jump they needed and I felt like I was finally getting back to my old race form with room to go up from there. That night Christy, James and I hit up the Olive Garden.
We’ve stayed the last 2 nights at a hotel in a rather sketchy part of Ontario, Ca so I was pleasantly surprised when I headed out for an easy spin this morning at 8 and found a great route out to the foothills of some mountains…which the smog was finally thin enough to reveal. Now I’m just hanging out with some coffee waiting for the Short Track at 3:15 today.