It’s a good thing I’m not media as I don’t seem to be able to get my own race updates out until two weeks later!
So yes, the Pan Am champs went phenomenally well. It was one of those days that you wake up feeling unstoppable. You know it can be your day. The course suits you, you’re rested and you’re positive. I warmed up on a road climb with a tail wind at my back and felt even stronger.
Even though we were in a rather remote area, lots of Chileans showed up to watch the race; so many in fact, that as they did our countdown the crowd made a whistle like noise within the 15seconds to go count and half the field took off before the whistle. More than usual I had to make up for a slow start and started to feel a little panicky as I saw the four Americans and a couple South Americans surge to the front. Marry McConneloug and Georgia Gould were setting pace and looking really good. It was an “oh crap” moment for me as I tried to gauge how hard I could go to bridge the gap and not pay too severely.
By about 5 minutes in I was able to surge into the top 3 and eventually nip the lead in front of Georgia heading into the first single track climb. The climb was steep and loose and I had a couple dabs, but I focused on settling into a hard rhythm. After the climbs where we switch-backed through a great crowd of screaming fans, there was a fun, fast rocky descent, a creek crossing and picking your way through a field of boulders. The last third of the course had about 5 loose rutted descents which went rather sloppily first lap, but I started dialling in as the race progressed.
Steve and Jerome were in the feedzone giving me splits and I was gaining on the climbs and descents each lap. I felt focused and smooth in my first race of the season and excited to make the Championship win a reality. It usually takes a couple races to get my form dialled in so if it can go up from here I’m pretty psyched!
Emily Batty handily took the U23 women’s title and Amanda Sin pulled off a 6th despite flatting. My Luna Team mate Georgia finished 2nd.
After the race, there wasn’t much time to enjoy Chile. I packed up my bike at the venue and as soon as awards were over I started my second race of the day…to get to the airport on time! Luckily I had a wicked Chilean driver zoom me to the airport and was on my way to San Francisco by 8pm.