Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Pro XCT Fontana National

My weekend started on Friday, as the big race weekends often do! Justin and I had taken a half day at work on Friday to get out and pre-ride the fully marked course with new Pro only sections.

I was a little nervous, because we had tried out the one descent last year, at my Pro debut, on Friday before the races, and I had resigned myself to having run through the loose dirt and big rocks, but found out Sunday morning before the race that at the Pro Rider / Manager meeting they had taken it out for the women.

This year Justin and I climbed up the elevator/National climb and up top saw the Pro's hung a right down a big rock face. What! This section was killer. I thoroughly enjoyed riding it. Justin took off down the pro descent in front of me, and not knowing what to expect I figured I'd ride what I could and dismount when/if necessary. To my surprise there were 3 good lines burned in from the first big turn and somehow I picked a line that I cleaned without issue my first time through. Stellar! We finished out the lap putting in a few opening efforts.

All told we wound up making 3 trips up the elevator climb and doing the descent 3 times before calling it a day.  Still totally loving my Ergon GA1 grips.  They have been awesome this season.

 Geoff had railed a more central line and was supa fast, but I stuck with my slower safer line!

I felt good on the course overall and was looking forward to Saturday.

The drive home wasn't so stellar, and we were up kinda late, but I got a decent's night sleep and after some Kimo Bean coffee (I need more!) I was dancing full tilt boogie in the kitchen as I did breakfast dishes. Justin told me save it for the race! Tried to reign in the energy expenditure after that!

We got on the road early so we could set up our pit area, and it was about as we hit traffic on the 15 before 60 that we started to worry the Rock N' Road EZ-up tent hadn't stayed staked in the ground. We had locked the ez-up to Tim's VeloSport ez-up, which was not staked down. As we drove by the sports park we were happy to see that the tents were indeed still in place, sort of! Tim's tent had rotated around our tent, but they were safe and secure. Gusts of probably 30-50 MPH were blowing, and there was a big constant wind as well blowing from the NE. Made sitting outside the truck not super pleasant, so I just tried to relax and wait until it was time to head out for a warmup.

I was just getting out of the truck as I noticed a big commotion with the tent's. Two guys were grabbing them and I noticed Justin underneath one trying to hold it down with his weight. The RNR tent was upside down (stakes all pulled up), but miraculously in tact. Tim's VeloSport tent took the brunt, but was salvageable!

We brought in some brute force replacements and tied down our EZ-up with a heavy Park Tools bag, and the back of the truck. I think somehow the wind was picking up!

Bike, race ready!

Warm up was pretty brutal. Either a massive going nowhere headwind or a tailwind. Got in my efforts, though, and due to the dry air determined I'd start with drink mix but would most probably switch to plain water. I learned that bit of lesson from Sea Otter last year. Never come "prepared" without a lot of plain water also. I was somewhat stuck with drink mix and couldn't drink, so wound up pretty dehydrated and underfueled liquid-wise, and had had too much to eat snack-wise waiting for the race.

I had seen earlier (and assumed as much the night before) that my call-up would be way down the list. I think I was 15-16 out of 20 or so. I had actually really expected a bigger turnout at Fontana this past weekend for the Pro Women. Even though the turnouts have been low, the competition has been fierce. Super fast women out there throwing down, and the racing has been really really solid.

I got the last spot on the 2nd row of line up.

Luckily I had cruised around the start/finish before race start, so I saw the start/parade lap loop and got to practice that. Some tight corners where no one had ridden, so the dirt was nice and soft.

The bell sounded and off we went and somehow I found myself sitting in the top 5-6 women going through the chicane's. I was stoked because I know that traffic bottlenecks around the first tight 180 after the feedzone, and then on the short climb by the 4x track. It'd open a little for a short stint before the steep climb leading to the Elevator/National climb, and I knew that would definitely lead to some separation between the first pack and the chase group, and passing isn't easy on the singletrack at Fontana.

I held my position, and I think was in 4th or so on the Elevator. Most were walking the second steep pitch, which had been easier to clean on Friday. We hit the descents and were railing through the breeze, and then hit with a wall of wind on the pavement climb up to the water tower.

It was brutal. No rest at all. I think Lene, Georgia, Willow and Heather were up in front and at some point on lap 1 I saw Pua closing in on me and wanted to try to hold her off as long as possible. She got me I think either right before or right after we started lap 2. Kelli wasn't too far behind, but I managed to stay with her. We were really evenly matched for most of laps 2-4 going back and forth throughout the course. Somewhere I think on lap 2 or 3 in between singletrack sections Ty had called out that she was in 7th. I got 10th at Fontana last year and had been stoked, so sort of thought that it was pretty good. What! This is a race.

I can't remember who at that point was in front of me, but Kelli and I passed Heather at some point I think around lap 3 on the pavement climb maybe.

Lap 4 I remember looking up the Elevator and seeing Georgia. Kelli must've seen her also. We went around the descents and hit the pavement and as we both were gasping for air, being brutalized and tormented by the head wind Kelli said something like, "Georgia's right there." Okay then! I went. Or, I tried to go. The headwind didn't allow me much of an attack, but we did bridge the gap. Georgia hit dirt before we did, but we caught up and went around on a short climb a minute or two later.

The normally fun and flowy singletrack had a crazy headwind also, and around every corner there was another wall of wind to stop me in my tracks.

I was feeling really tired and burnt, but Kelli and I were racing head to head, and we kept putting in efforts. I think she knew I was getting water on the short climb after the cul-de-sac (really seemed like a super tactically astute racer), so put in an attack there. Justin was there last lap cheering me on and I pushed harder than I had been already and wound up gasping for air and feeling like I was hyperventilating. I tried to relax on the next short descent where I had crashed on Friday (in front of NED OVEREND of all people) and catch my breath again for the sprint across the flats.

I did wind up bridging a little of the gap Kelli had opened up, but she finished just ahead of me.

I pulled over at the finish line and saw some of the familiar faces of friends and acquaintices that had spent the last hour forty cheering me on in various parts of the course, ringing cowbells, and dealing with wind and blowing sand just to watch the Pro Women throw down. The cheers were amazing all over the course, from the start/finish line to the feedzone, up on the Elevator climb, down the Pro descent. It was so awesome to have people out calling my name, and cheering on all of the Pro women. Thank you so much to everyone that comes out to spectate. You may the experience more bearable!

Justin ran over and told me I got 5th. I didn't believe it! I was ecstatic.

Nancy, who had been near the pro descent for the whole race ran over and gave me a big hug. Nancy has always been an inspiration to me, and continues to be so to this day. The Denmother is still out killing it on the downhill race course. If you're in town, come show your support for women's cycling in So Cal this weekend at the Women of Dirt event.

I chatted with a few of the other pro women (Emily asked how my lungs/throat felt - burned!) and chatted with Colt for a few minutes before deciding a short spin was probably in order.

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

Such a cool experience to have my first National podium at Fontana.

Saturday night we had a nice dinenr with my dad to celebrate, and then had to get home so I could prep more race/water bottles and get ready for Sunday's "triple": Justin's XC race bright and early; short track, and then Super D in the afternoon.

I didn't sleep much. The body was wired, I guess. Got up really early for breakfast and headed north. I wasn't feeling great, but figured I'd give it what I had, and Justin wasn't sure if he was ready or not!

He got warmed up and had some stress because I wasn't in the feedzone early, but got himself situated and got a spot on the front line for his wave. His start looked good and I cruised back to the feedzone to wait and get pics on lap 2.

Since he'd taken a full 24oz bottle the plan, I thought, was to pick up a freshy going on lap 3 for the rest of the race. 23 or so minutes later he came through yelling for water. I had the camera in my hand. No water. D'oh!

I'm not such a good feedzone support person!

I felt awful. I cheered on a few others racing, and stewed about ruining his race. I made sure to be prepared this time with bottles at the ready. He called out for water and the handoff went smooth. I wasn't sure, but thought he was in the top 3! Not many Cat 1's in front of him (maybe 3-4 at most), but traffic was building up with the various waves.

I emptied my water bottle to have a fresh bottle for him for lap 4, and lucky I did as he took it before going out. I didn't see anyone but Gary Douville that I reconized from his category, so knew he had to be holding on to 2nd!

I finished up feeding for Ryan H and headed over to the start/finish to cheer on Justin as he came through around 30 seconds behind Gary! Amazing! I was so stoked for him to have such a good race.

Since it was getting later in the day I wanted to head out on the road bike for an hour cruise, but it just didn't work out. I did wind up getting out for about 30 minutes as a pre-warm up, warm-up, then came back to get prepped for short track warm-up. The day had been fairly mellow. I wasn't feeling great, and the hot temperature made it sort of uncomfortable. I struggled a little to really stoke the engine in warm-up despite a few efforts, but felt ready to go when I got back to the venue. It was really warm, even standing in the shade waiting for call-up. It hadn't occurred to me at all, but realized as they called everyone up one by one that I'd be last with no real short track experience other than Bonelli 2 weeks prior.

I wasn't too stoked on my start line position, but took it for what it was worth, and before I knew it we were off and I was one of the stragglers.

As we hit the big 180 I was forced to dismount and the pack was gone leaving a few of us behind. We managed to catch near to the tail end, but lap 2 the same thing happened. I wasn't feeling it at all and was wondering how long it'd take for them to pull me. Justin yelled out as I went by near the start/finish to not stress about it. So, I didn't. Instead I decided to change my mood and instead of making tactical errors and putting in efforts to pass where it was a wasted effort I sat in until I knew I could accelerate away a little. I was way back in the group, but was starting to make some passes. I passed one group, and then pretty much put in a solo effort for about 3 laps before catching on to the tail end of Pua, Emily, and Judy. Judy nearly went down and was off her bike on one sharp turn and I couldn't go around, but passed and had a bunch of cheers/yelling my direction to make the catch to Emily and Pua, so kept soloing. Pua got loose around the same corner on the bell (final) lap and I wanted to hold her wheel. We both shifted into our biggest gears with the finish line in sight and she got me by about 2 bike lengths or so.

Probably should have started out with more oomph for a higher finish, but I was stoked that I was able to come from behind and found out much later in the day that I'd finished 9th overall.

I should've taken some time to spin around, but I just wanted water. My throat and mouth were super dry. There's no time to drink in short track, really. I had one small sip on the final lap after the feedzone just for hoping for an extra oomph!

Oops. I pedaled around here and there watching Pro Men's ST and chatting with Christina of the now infamous Cougar Class (way to go 1st place!) and then cruised around. It was about 4pm when someone said to get up to Super D, so I smashed myself trying to make it up to the start and not miss it! The pavement climb was super hot, and I got up there all sweating and hot, and stood around in the shade chatting with the pro ladies. I think everyone is usually pretty tired this time of day over a race weekend. We were 2 hard races in, hot weekend, lots of wind. We knew the start antics would be "fun".

They had us line up our bikes leaned against the water tank fence, and we had to run from maybe 30-50 yards back up the pavement and then hop on le mans style. I've only ever done one super D previously (Bonelli), so had no idea what to make of the running start. I was either last or close to it after we started, and I think was sitting 4th or 5th on the singletrack as we climbed. Sue led it out with Krista, Kelli and Amanda right there. I think Kelli went around before the second singletrack section, and I managed to get around Amanda, with Sue and Krista ahead. I felt "off" throughout the singletrack section. Just couldn't get a rhythm, and then I dropped my chain entirely off. Luckily I didn't have to stop and fiddle with it. I downshifted on the front and it picked it back up and off I chased.

I saw Sue and Krista on the short climb after the cul-d-sac and knew I had to settle or make a move. I bridged the gap and was on Krista's wheel as she went around Sue, and as I tried to hold her wheel I just kept going around and led into the next singletrack. I hit the flats, put my head down and just motored with everything I had left. I knew I was sapping the tank to make that last little rocky climb, but I needed a gap. I looked under my arm and didn't see anyone immediately on my wheel, so just kept it moving. I knew someone was close behind as I dismounted on the rocks, but got back on it and took 2nd.


I was pretty spent after that, so should've spun down (again), but just sat on the grass in the shade drinking water. Did that for the next hour or so listening to the DH podiums (so stoked for Roger, Nancy, Traci, and everyone! WTG peeps).

Overall, it was an amazing race weekend. I was glad that I signed up for Short Track and Super D since I think it's good practice getting in the hard days back to back. I do need to find a way to get in more spinning time between/before the races, though. Volume was super low for me this weekend.

I'm definitely learning a lot, and fully enjoying each race this season, despite how utterly brutal both short track and super d have been! I'm loving the ride and can't wait to see what's around the corner.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Women of Dirt

Check out the link below to purchase tickets and find out more info about the Hollywood premiere of "Women of Dirt".

In addition to screening this movie about female mountain bikers, they will also be honoring the 5 most influential women in So Cal cycling, and selling paintings to benefit the Bahati Foundation, So Cal Interscholastic Cycling League, LACBC, and the Mark J Reynolds Fund.

Please check out the link and come support women mountain bikers!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another good weekend

The weekends around here have been pretty stellar this year. It's great to be able to get away from the desk for a few days and spend time on the bikes or hanging with friends. This weekend was no exception!

We got a late start both days, and got home well after dark, but got in two solid rides in Orange County (change of scenery!) and had a blast riding bikes.

Justin had put a deposit on a 2009 closeout frameset for a Tarmac SL2 a few weeks ago, and the final build was all ready to be picked up Saturday morning. So, we stopped by Rock N' Road to pick it up with some other random goodies (yet another Halo for me, because I always forget to bring one, some nutritionals, and some sweet custom Rock N' Road Sock Guy baselayer sleeveless tees). I'd never used this type before, but used it both Saturday and yesterday and was very pleased!

From there we headed over and got a late start riding Aliso Woods over near the coast. We knew it was going to be a day heavy on the hills side of things, and we came up with some pretty good repeats and had a blast on the descents and just riding around chatting with others.

Cruising out to the bottom of Mathis

Sooo green

Top of the World

Love riding my S-Works Epic

From there we cruised over to the top of Meadows where I enjoyed listening to the bugs buzzing and the breeze blowing

I came around the corner to massively tall flora and it sooo reminded me of Crested Butte... sort of!

Awhile later the fog was rolling in...


Cruising back up to Mathis for one final push

Fun descending back to the truck

Sunday it was time to break in the new Tarmac in the family!

I was stoked to get some new white shoes (white grip tape is new as of last night - love the S-wrap Roubaix tape).

After Steph and Dan got in their weekend trail run they met us at Pannikins where we demolished Dan's baked goods and all enjoyed some coffee.

Justin and I took it a bit slower on the way back up the coast (head wind, and we were getting pretty tired). His saddle slipped a few times, so we stopped here and there.

I was running low on energy, and out of fluids as we hit the final push in the rapidly cooling evening air...


Looking forward to some more intervals this week! Always a good time.

Stopped at Pannikins

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

US Cup Triple Crown Bonelli Park

or… This isn't the same Bonelli.

My first XC race was at Bonelli Park in October 2007.  I signed up for Sport Women Open.  I knew nothing about training, nutrition, or racing.  I was racing my sweet Dos Niner set up as a 1x9 (special Boone 29T ring, since I couldn't handle a 32T up front).  There was one other woman at the line, and she took off before I had even shifted down on my cassette.  The other passed me about 1/4mi in to the race.  

Yup, that was me in October 2007.

I'll be honest, I don't remember much about the race.  I think I went back and forth with another female about my age that kept passing me on the climbs, and I'd get her on the descents.  I think she crashed 2-3 times and called it a day.  There was a massive cacti patch on the hill that we all climbed this past weekend (the switchbacks) and a bunch of people crashed there.

I did the same race in 2008 I believe in Expert… only female out there.

I think Tinker lapped me on lap 2 of 4!

Since there isn't usually a lot of competition in the local Cat 1 ranks, I requested an upgrade to Pro Women XC in late 2008.  USAC denied the request, asking for more solid results at bigger events, so I set out to put in some solid and smart training, and realized that Chipotle wasn't "health" food.  

My next time racing at Bonelli was a little different. I actually had been training and watching my nutrition a little more closely for about 4 months by the time I got to the race. I was stoked that the Cat 1 women got to start with the Pro's.  It was the first race of the season, and I was on my new 2009 S-Works Epic.  I was super nervous, but shot out of the gate and found myself riding on the wheel of Melanie McQuaid and going back and forth with Krista Park!  It was awesome getting to watch Krista race, and follow her around the course for my 2 laps.

After "bugging" them some more, USAC let me upgrade before the Pro XCT event at Fontana last year, and I was stoked!

Needless to say, I've done a good amount of racing at Bonelli, and have really kind of come full circle from the sport racer that was constantly getting dropped!

Justin and I got to pre-ride most of the Triple Crown Pro course the weekend before the event.  We were tired from racing SRC, and the weather wasn't great, so we didn't spend much time out there.  We got out of work early Wednesday before the race and set out on a few laps to test the bike setups and the tires, and I was stoked to have the course a little more dialed in.

I felt ok but not great Friday on our ride at lunch, and then spent about 4 hours in the kitchen cooking and prepping for the weekend while Justin finalized the bike stuff in the garage.

Got bottles?

Justin made a few "tactical" errors Friday night.  He came in to shower and said that one of my crank bolts had shattered, but it would be okay and we'd get it replaced before Fontana.  No worries.  I forgot about it.

I was up way before the alarm Saturday morning and felt ready to go!  We got up to the venue before noon and I got in the longer than expected registration line.  Had hopped to get in a lap or so before the juniors went off.

Justin had the Team Rock N' Road Cyclery pit all dialed in when I got back from registration.

We got kitted up and I went to clip in to my pedal and my foot fell to the ground.  I thought (new shoes n all) I had missed the pedal, so tried again.  Realized my cranks were parallel (this is no bueno).  Justin looked at them and realized it was not going to work.  I sort of started to panic.  He ran around asking for crank bolts.  

He set me up on his hard tail, and was lucky enough to get hooked up with a way to put my crank rings on his drivetrain, since his crank arms were NOT fitting in my frame.  So, I went out to get used to a bike I'd ridden once and that was a size too big.

It wasn't my bike, but I'd make it work.  I thought about Beth's blog on making lemonade from the week before, and I was just going to make some for myself!  

I got back to the pits and Justin told me that Juan (who is a Specialized demo rep that happened to be at the event with some sweet bikes!) had given up his personal crankset for the weekend for me to race on. What a life saver!

So, I hopped back on my bike and did a short loop around the course after the junior races had finished so I could check out my tire set up and finish warm-up.

I felt about as prepared as I was going to get, and lined up as the men were just about to head out on their start/parade lap with the other women. The women's turn out was pretty low (11 starters), but it was also stacked! With Lene Byberg, Heather Irmiger, and Kelli Emmett from the World Cup circuit, Pua Sawicki with multiple 24-hour national titles and a Marathon World Cup Pro, Amber Neben who was a road TT World Champion, Chloe Forsman and Kay Sherwood with strong U23 and collegiate finishes, Krista Park who has competed nationally, Rebecca Tomaszewski who is a top-level SS and endurance mountain biker, and new to the Pro ranks Anna Fortner.

This crew was no joke!

I lined up I think on the far right of the first row and managed to hold on to the 2nd pack coming around by the feedzone (shown in Rick Watts' video below). I think the groups came back together while out on the start loop and we all took off up the first steep climb toward the singletrack on the lake side pretty much in single file.

Pro Women's Start lap (thank you to Rick Watt's!!)

I was on Pua's wheel for the first descent, and made sure to stick like glue to her on the short climb back up. I think I was sitting in about 6th place for most of the lap, and we would all regroup here and there, with small gaps forming. On the flats out to the other part of the course I caught back on to Chloe's wheel, and Pua went around both of us.

Photo: Dave Wrolstad

I think I managed to come around Chloe on the next climb and Pua continued to accelerate. I was with Heather on a short paved section in between the rollers and the small climb before we descend to the swim beach flats and climb up the switchbacks. We yo-yo'd a bit with me in front after that through the feedzone, and then she came around on the steep climb, and I think I passed back before the singletrack climb back up. I knew Heather was back there and we were all suffering, and the gap up to the top 3 (Pua, Kelli and Lene) was staying somewhat consistent for lap 3.

Photo: Dave Wrolstad

Lap 4 my legs started to get pretty packed up, but I continued to push. I wasn't sure of the gap from me back, but I knew that Pua was out of my sights for the most part, and that that gap was starting to get bigger. I didn't panic, just kept my pace as high as I could and tried to keep it moving. I knew coming in to lap 4 it was time to take a bottle, and decided to yank my visor since it was acting like a giant sail on all of the flats.

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

Thanks to Colt from Cycling Dirt for the killer coverage (as always).

Lap 5 I came around and shifted into my smaller ring on the steep climb at the beginning of the lap. I noticed my thumb shifter didn't seem like it was in the right place, but I down shifted anyway. When I went to shift into the bigger gear at the top of the short climb, what I figured was the case was truly the case… my front shifter was busted. I didn't know what was wrong, but I knew I'd be doing the entire lap in a 26T ring. Not exactly the best situation, but I hoped I had a big enough gap that it wouldn't matter. I was probably spinning about 120 RPMs on the flats and descents just trying to keep some momentum going, but I lost some time. I knew I was in the home stretch, though, so I made sure to smile for the photographers this time around.

Photo: Tom Shao

I was really stoked to have had such a great race. It was a lot of pain and suffering and pushing myself, but it was great to hang up front with some of the leaders for the early laps, and it was such a fun course. I know we've all got a long season ahead of us, and I don't think anyone went in to this race feeling particularly fresh or on top of their game, but it was still a really solid XC race.

I had no idea what was going to happen for Sunday since I hadn't really conserved what-so-ever. We were some of the last to leave the venue Saturday evening, and set out for some blackened salmon, rice, veggies, and a glass of vino. Yeah, so Justin and I also had dessert…

We checked in to the hotel around 8, and I sat on my butt while Justin fixed himself up with a new rear tire. My body utterly was in a state of disarray and had no desire to sleep. When we finally laid down around 10 pm (with the clock turned forward so it was actually 11 pm sort of) there was a lot of hotel noise. Justin requested nicely that the people outside quiet down, but it didn't really work out. Then it was about 85F in the room, so we turned on the A/C, and then it was about 65F in the room.

Since Justin's race was at 8:30 on Sunday (meaning getting there by 7 to set up and for him to be able to warm up before the race) we got up at 5:45. I think we wound up with about 3 hours of sleep. With coffee Sunday morning we got to the venue and I was HOPPING! Dancing around to music playing on the loud speaker and raring to go. My race, unfortunately, was still 6 hours away!

I supported Justin in the feedzone and by cheering and taking crappy pictures.

When Justin came around to the finish he was sprinting with 2 other guys. I knew that Gary Douville most likely had first (but a smaller gap than normal!), so I thought Justin had sprinted for 4th. When we looked at the results, though, 2nd place finished just ahead of him, and he was 3rd overall! He actually was in the way of a sprint for another age group (AG). Was super stoked for him! I think that was his top finish for that many guys in his AG, which is awesome. The hard work is paying off.

I got a short little warm up massage and felt utterly relaxed. My warm-up for short track wound up being a lot shorter than I would have liked, but my legs were feeling the effects of the day before and very little recovery or sleep. I had no idea how it was going to go, but I figured it only being 10 minutes plus one lap was better than it being 20-30 minutes.

As expected, it was utterly brutal. I had half a bottle of water, but never had a chance to drink any. It was all out with yo-yo's like in a big group road ride hammer fest, and I never knew when the group was going to go or when they were going to sit up, so I pretty much just "went" the whole time.

Bell lap there was a bit of a gap between Lene, Kelli, Heather and Chloe and then Amber, Pua and I. I made the tactical error of trying to pass on the only short rise in the course and wound up in a big rain rut at almost a complete standstill. I spent the rest of the lap to the grass sprinting to catch back on, running out of gears and legs in the process. I caught the tail end of Amber and Pua as we all entered the finishing sprint, and Pua outsprinted Amber with me falling a little ways back.

Super cotton mouth and I don't think there was any way to rehydrate from that! Felt like I'd been in the sahara desert for about a month with no water! I tried to spin around a little, and instead just kind of sat around in a daze. Justin was snacking on some sweet potato chips, and I realized all I wanted at that point was to snack and take a nap.

Instead we headed out in search of the Super D course, and wound up pedaling out there with Chloe and Pua, and catching on to the train of Kelli and her teammate Carl Decker. We had a fun run down the course while the Pro Men were warming up for Short Track.

I kind of sat around for awhile, and quickly it was time to pedal off to the start. I think a few of us women were kind of tired from the weekend and looking forward to finishing up. I sat down in the shade of the weeds near the top with Krista and Chloe as we waited for the Pro Men to go off. A few of the pro women chose not to Super D, so we got through our class pretty quickly.

I felt actually pretty good throughout. The one big climb I felt kind of slow on (in too big of a gear), but got through the rocky descent, crossed the road and felt pretty spent. Justin was standing on the sidelines cheering, and I tried to put in an effort for him, but had nothing left.

Just after I was out of his sight I came to a fork in the fire roads. I'd only done the Super D course one time, so thought I was out to the last descent and started to veer left to go down the hill. Just as I got to the course tape someone yelled "You're going the wrong way!" I scrubbed all speed, stopped, and veered back on course just at the bottom of a steep hill. Totally in the wrong gear I cranked up it really slowly, and hammered my way to the finish line for 4th.

Overall, I was pretty stoked on my 5th place for the weekend.

XC podium:

Super D podium:

I learned a few things in short track and super D, and hope to race a few more of those this season! I made two tactical errors that cost me (who knows how much?), and hope to take the lessons learned to make better choices next time around.

Still feel super beat from my efforts this weekend. I need to sleep!

Thanks again to everyone that was out cheering all weekend. It's great to hear people calling your name and ringing the cowbell when you're deep in the pain cave and suffering!

Not sure I will make it out to Rounds 2 and 3 of the Triple Crown, but I do highly recommend it to anyone that can make it!