Night before prep
Well, I don't really know what to say about the race. Friday was stellar. Saturday morning, woke up and found out the alarm had been off by 40 minutes (early, not late at least!).
Had some cereal, hurting continental breakfast, coffee, and eventually we headed south to Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Justin worked to get the bikes lubed up with some Sports Authority special chain lube, and off he went for his warm-up.
I hung out, chatted with local racer Stan Ford about to do his warm-up, and then totally realized that I could not support Justin in the feedzone for his entire 4 lap race if I wanted to warm-up for my race at all. Laps were just under 30 minutes, and if he went off on time at 9:45 that he would be finishing at 11:45, when Elite Women call-ups were scheduled. Hrm.
He took his two bottles and ran to the feedzone to find a friendly person to help do his feeds and then got lined up. I went over on the dirt to get a few shots of the Cat 1 full-on mass start. Interesting, because there was about 50 yards of pavement, double track, and then a narrow bridge, followed by a sharp turn and more doubletrack.
The course was cool, but it is super hard pack dirt with a layer of loose rocks that are like marbles. So, if you weren't on the burned in line, you better be careful!
After watching the Cat 1 group roll through I ran over to near the end of the course to wait for them to roll through. Didn't have to wait too long after a short spin up hill. I went to where they were saying the Elite men/women would go for an extra loop, but it was all marked as parking with no course tape or arrows, so I wasn't sure what the deal was with my "additional" start. I'd ask around later.
Caught him one final time on lap 1, coming off the dirt and onto pavement to finish out the lap
After that I high-tailed it back to the Jeep to fix up myself something to eat before my warmup. I thought I was totally running out of time to make it out to feedzone for his mid-race feed, so I was shoving food in my mouth as I was pedaling to the feed zone.
Once I got out there I found his bottles being handled by a cool guy from UT that had showed up too late to register (the Cat 1 group filled up fast! Some actually were let in Saturday morning, others not).
I was then told that at the line they had changed the Cat 1 race from 4 to 3 laps. What? One racer that went by asked for his "Coke" and his buddy was like, "What Coke?" He handed him water or something and the guy's wife/gf was like, "He wanted the Coke on the last lap!" The guy with the bottles was like, "This is only lap 3." Yeah, well, they changed it so lap 3 was the final lap! No one knew but the racers, and even over at the USAC tent people were unsure what was going on.
I tried to find out, and even after asking about my race (lap #?) found out mine was 3 instead of 4 as well. I tried to get some information about my start, but it was all conflicting. I went back to the truck to start my warmup and headed out. Justin finished, so he rolled with me for a few and went back to grab his bottles from the feedzone (I was afraid to take them earlier in case they really had to do 4!), and get changed.
I finished my warmup, got my bottles, and at 11:45 was standing around confused. The Elite women were all rolling around just looking around. Cat 1 was still finishing racing, so we couldn't really use the start line yet. Tedro said that they changed up the start. Call-ups, neutral roll to the end of the parking lot, then up the paved hill, sharp u-turn, down the hill, through the start-finish and out.
I was stoked to have 12th call-up, but after the neutral roll it was chaos and everyone just cut in front. I went from 2nd row to 4th and off we went. I was already 20th or so just not having my call-up spot. Really weird. Felt good on the pavement, didn't have any issues at the turn, and it was a mad house once we hit the dirt.
No room to pass at all, and women hugging the corners to stop anyone from getting around. A lip on the dirt made it impossible to ride around in the bushes.
I felt pretty good and was hanging in there, but once we got to the techy singletrack climb and a few people in front of me had to dab I was all over the place. Redlined and messy. A few women went by and I just tried to hang on for the descent and some recovery!
Lots of traffic on the singletrack descent back to the start/finish!
Passing was tough, so everyone was trying to jockey for position. Unfortunately everyone was speedy on the easier sections, but passing was still difficult. Everyone was red-lined pushing the power on the flatter stuff, non-tech stuff, or easier climbs. I think in the mid-pack I was at sometimes you were rubbing tires, and sometimes not. We all probably got in someone else's way, but that's racing on singletrack.
I wound up behind someone with a little less technical skills than I would have liked, so my last lap was slowed down a tad. No room what-so-ever to pass. We dabbed a few times. I was fairly frustrated and a few guys called me out and said to get her in a sprint at the line. We hit the pavement and off she went, but I descend a lot on pavement and like going fast, so i did super-aero tuck, drafted around her and sprinted for 19th. Sweet.
Justin wound up 7th on the day after he was taken out.
I forgot to mention, but while I've crashed in races, yesterday I had my worst race crash ever. Totally endo'd going too slow through a somewhat downhill (it wasn't steep) rock garden. Landed on my shoulder/quad (have the bruises to prove that much) with my bike landing on my back. It hurt. I made sure I could move and the chain was on and off I went. It totally affected my confidence in the rocks for the rest of the race, but no one passed me. Somehow I wound up making time on the two women in front of me since despite my crash and getting back at it, I caught back up.
Nutritionally (despite not even finishing a 21oz bottle throughout the race) I did well throughout the day. Never was hungry or full, and energy levels were good. Weather was great. No rain! Course was fun, had a few tech spots. I cleared the rock garden short ascent on laps 2 and 3 and was happy about that. I gotta learn to remount the bike faster after HABage, though. Will be working on that on trail/training rides fo sho.
Not a bad day, not a great day. I did what I could. Today we're chilling. Gotta wait for a bike shop to open so we can get a trail map! I still want to get up to Pikes Peak also.
So, we learned a lot yesterday. Our first out of state race, our first time flying to a race... good stuff. Was happy to see some familiar faces. The Kenda Cup west champ jerseys are SCHWEET! Maybe next year?