Classically Sea Otter
26km/hr, thanks to our new sponsor Garmin I have the details to back up how hard and fast Emily Batty and I rode this weekend in the cross country portion of the 2nd Us Cup of the season. That also tells you a little something about the terrain, fast, smooth, some pavement, some smooth dirt roads and some bumpy grassy sections and unfortunately for me only 600m of climbing in 45 Km.
Both the short track and the cross country were very tactical races, favoring not only fitness, but a rider with good jump. In the short track my team mate Georgia got off the front pretty much from the gun and never looked back before sailing into victory after 26 minutes of full out racing. Lea Davison was trailing her in 2nd for a couple laps, but between myself, Emily, Katerina and Katie we were able to bring her in. She went down in a corner losing critical seconds reducing the field to four chasers. Near the end, lapped traffic started to get intermingled with us while I was sitting 4th wheel. A gap opened between Katie and Emily and Katerina and they cruised off the front while Katie and I chased. With 2 laps to go I pulled away from Katie, while Katerina maneuvered to take 2nd over Emily. luna Claimed 1st, 2nd and 4th with country mate Emily Batty took bronze and Katie Compton 5th.
Enter a Friday night luna party where we got to hang out with sponsors and friends and then it was Saturday and the cross-country. I have to admit I was feeling a little bummed about the lack of technical challenge on the course, but Keith cheered me up saying "hey, think of it this way, you never get to road race!". I was cheered and went into the race looking forward to a different challenge and it was fun. Not every course is your ideal race course, but it can always be good racing if you want it to be.
To my surprise Emily and I soloed away early first lap only to have my teammates Georgia and Katerina bridge up to us with Katie Compton on the 2nd of 7 laps. It's always a little interesting to figure out the working dynamic in a drafting race, but we soon did, only to have Georgia burp her rear tire hoping a ditch and lose gobs of positions running to the tech zone. Katie later fell off the pace and then ran into a bee (to which she's allergic) and had to end the race short.
With 2 of 7 laps left to go Katerina got gapped in a corner and Emily and I continued a hard pace trading up pulls on the pavement with me choosing to always lead on the dirt and climbs. Emily is a talented racer and a better tactician than I, we worked together superbly, but I felt the need to drive the pace on the climbs (perhaps to my downfall?) knowing she had more jump in a sprint. Too bad for me, I couldn't drive the pace quite high enough and after 1hr 41.23 of racing Emily claimed victory in a sprint finish. Congrats on your first US Cup xc win Emily!
After that it was bike packing for south Africa and a little party and amazing tunes with the ClifBar crew. Our trip to South Africa is getting off to a chaotic start with vehicle issues and forgotten passports, but the team is now on a 4hr flight to Washington, to be followed by a 16hr flight to Johannesburg via Dakar and then a quick 5hr drive to Pietermaritzburg.... And no we don't get to fly first class!