After a week of training and living in the LA Area in between races, I was more than ready to get this one done and go home! Kara and I pre-rode the course twice during the week; the first time it was a hot day and the ground was bone dry and sandy. The second time, the day before the race, it was wet and slick from the recent rain. It was a tough course with a lot of steep climbs, off-camber corners and obstacles, then add in the wet ground and it was sure to be an interesting race.
Again, I raced Cat 1 and luckily, we went off pretty early in the day during a break in the rain. The course wasn’t too slippery and the conditions were actually quite good, aside from being a pretty short lap which got very congested as the women shared it with a huge Cat 1 Men’s field. I was more nervous than the previous week in Fontana, probably because I had more self imposed pressure to perform again. After winning last week I naturally wanted to win again, and earn the upgrade points I needed to race Pro at Sea Otter the following week.
Just about a minute off the start line, the men who started before us came tearing through the women’s field on the first climb where we were funneling down onto a dirt trail as it was. It made for a pretty hairy climb up the first hill and I got boxed in and stuck behind some slower riders for a while. I saw one woman get ahead of the mess I was in and I was determined to keep her in sight so that I could catch her later on. I rode strong where I could, was patient where I had to be and passed as often as possible and quickly made up the gap to the leading woman. I then realized she was a junior and would probably be riding one less lap than me, but still wanted to be at the front of the race. I was most definitely feeling some fatigue and the steep climbs and wet trail seemed to zap my legs more and more with each lap. My focus was maintaining a strong effort and staying upright on the slick grass, rocks and obstacles. Again, I took the win easily and although the effort felt much harder than the previous week, I was satisfied with my performance and results. I accomplished my goal for the two races, earning my Pro MTB license and felt good about my decision to earn my upgrade! Next up, the Sea Otter Classic!