2008 was our first real year of racing and training. It has been a long year, especially considering that our training for Vision Quest ’08 started long before the New Year! We attended a lot of races, met lots of new people, trained our butts off (literally and figuratively), and stood on more than our fair share of podiums. I will try to pull together a nice year in review post with lots of pictures at a later date.
Since Southridge is our “home” track, and our racing year started there, it seemed appropriate that we punctuate the end of the year with a race there. In typical SRC fashion the XC race takes place Saturday morning, SuperD races in the afternoon at the same time as DH practice, then on Sunday the DH race goes down.
Racing XC and DH is a quite challenging for me. During my XC race in the morning I am always pedaling past my friends pushing their DH bikes up the hill for their first practice runs. Then after the XC race they hold the raffle and awards during the time that DH practice is officially open, so there are minor scheduling conflicts. At the same time it is hard to get fired up about DH practice after racing XC, a big part of me just wants to sit down with my feet up and rest after all that effort!
Saturday morning we showed up early and plenty of time to warm up. I cruised around and chatted with other racers and spectators. One of my favorite things about the races is the smack talk that occurs between friends on the line right before the start. It is awesome to shrug off the nervousness that goes along with waiting for your start with some humor amongst friendly competitors!
Before I knew it we were off. My AG was called to the line with two groups in front of us so we were not on the front row. I took it really easy off the start and shadowed Ryan whom kicked my butt all spring. We kept a pretty easy pace and picked off a few slower riders before the asphalt climb. Once on the asphalt I decided to stand up and get my climb on since I have been doing so much training out of the saddle on the road bike. I can fairly say that I surprised myself by rocketing up the hill and feeling pretty fresh at the top! I had taken the lead of my AG and then settled into a nice pace passing lots of slower riders, all of whom were very courteous. Toward the end of the first lap I passed Allison, I wish she had some fast women out there to help push her.
On the second lap I spun up the asphalt instead of standing as there was nobody near me. On the first descent I pushed a bit too hard going through a corner and crashed, twisting my bars. During my efforts to straighten my bars I managed to get a nice brake rotor tattoo on the inside of my right calf. I did get passed by a rider from the next AG up, the same guy that I was chasing at Mt. SAC, and I was glad to have someone to chase and challenge me. I crossed the line in first with a time of 1:18, a very fast time especially considering the conditions of the course.
After the race I suited up for DH and jumped into the shuttle line. Unfortunately the shuttles were running extremely slow. By the time I got to the front of the line it looked like I was going to miss the XC awards. I told Allison to go in my place. I missed the XC awards, but such is the life of a multi-discipline rider! I didn’t get as much practice as I might of liked on Saturday, but the course was pretty easy so I wasn’t too worried.
Saturday night we went to dinner with Denmo and the gang before going back to Casa de Denmo for some much deserved shut eye.
Sunday we were back at the venue good and early and I was on the first shuttle truck to the top. My first run was awesome! I was flying down the course until a sandy and loose left hand turn where I pushed wide (this turn would later come back to haunt me!). I got a couple more practice runs but in the process had the chain jump from the chain guide and get twisted! DARN! I scrounged an extra chain from a fellow racer and decided to try and put a bigger front chain ring on while I was working on the bike. Further frustration ensued when I found that none of the 36 or 38 tooth chain rings I had would fit the Race Face cranks on Allison’s bike!! In the end I put the bike back together with the very weak 32T chain ring, a new chain, and a newly adjusted chain guide. As soon as I finished wrenching it was time to head up on the shuttle for my race run.
My DH race run felt really good until I hit that same loose left hander that caught me off guard on my first practice run of the day. I pushed hard on the front end and it let go sending me into the dirt. In the process I slammed the bar into the ground causing it to twist. I jumped up and rode a little ways with the bars VERY crooked before stopping, jumping off, and straightening them (being careful not to burn my leg again!). I jumped back on the bike and finished off my run as quickly as I could. I crossed the line in 13th place with a time of 3:08.
After my race run I went up to cheer for my friends and fellow racers. It is great to see so many of them riding so well. I am proud of their improvements this year
I had a great race weekend and have come to terms with the fact that I won’t be spending much time on the podium next year racing in Expert XC and DH. I am very much looking forward to the challenge of trying to keep up with the fast guys. I also hope that I find a good group of fellow Expert racers that I can joke with at the start line. I will miss my racing buddies that stay in Sport, but will hopefully see them all taking podium spots next year!
On a non-racing related topic: I am excited to be taking a trip to Bootleg Canyon with a few friends for Thanksgiving weekend. I am glad that we won’t have to break the piggy bank to pay for fuel for the trip… this photo was taken Sunday on our way home.