The Utah state championships were held last week at Deer Valley. Surprisingly, the course was in great shape in the face of our extra wet climate. All the usual suspects joined in on the fun--Sarah, KC, Erica--and as I had expected Kathy Sherwin was in town to race on her home turf. Once we lined up at the start I glanced over and saw a new face! Erica was quick to inform me that this new face was an Australian national racer name Katherine O'Shea. Oh boy...the competition was going to stiff! The race began with a very steep but short climb, the Kathys wasted no time and put the hurt on from the first pedal stroke. I was instantly in fourth place behind the Kathys and Sarah, and managed to hold it for most of the first lap. KC and Erica were not far behind and I watched the gap between Sarah and I grow larger and the gap between KC and I grow smaller...Not exactly the ideal situation! Somewhere during the second lap when I was suffering in the pain cave and KC was passing me with ease, I realized trying to stay with the lead group early-on was a big mistake! My legs just weren't up for this brisk pace today! I ended up in 5th place behind some great riders. Somewhat disappointed on one hand and on the other hand another reality check--40+ hours a week in the hospital, studying, training, being a wife, looking for a job, and sleep...its a tough task to accomplish it all in 24 hours on a daily basis. Looking at the big picture, I spent a nice sunny day with my husband and friends riding my bike at a fun venue. We'll just chalk it up as a little victory!
|Deer Valley podium|
Yesterday was another local I-Cup race held near Logan at Sherwood Hills. Its a really great venue with lots of shaded singletrack that snakes through the trees and big-ring climbs that look benign but end up being big-time power suckers! After a very stressful and emotional week that required pep-talks from my amazing husband and incredibly supports friends (Thanks guys!!) it was decided that this race was merely a fun day on the bike with my friends. My competitiveness, though never completely off, needed to be turned waaay down. This race was my reset button! Take a deep breath and forget about the stresses of school for a couple of hours! Because of a busy schedule, I only got a about 4 hours of riding in during the week preceding the race so I was a little worried that my legs would be in shock once the brisk pace of the race started. I had not ridden this course since my first year racing so I thought I would take a quick warm-up lap around the short 5-mile loop by myself and clear my head. I was enjoying the sunshine and my slow pace when a veered into the grass to pass another rider. BAD move! I nearly rode over a rattlesnake who apparently was also enjoying the warm sun. The eerie sound of his rattle sent shivers down my spine and I looked down to see him directly under my left pedal and coiling up, rattle pointed to the sky and shaking furiously! Now if you know me at all, you know that I turn into a screaming school girl at the sight of a snake. I did let out a mild yelp and quickly warned the other riders behind me who had also slowed down once they heard that nasty rattle. My heart rate was definitely up now! That was the second rattler I'd seen in a week...I think I only saw 2 all summer last year!
Once again the usual crew had shown up for the race, Erica, Sarah, and KC. Its funny, racing against these girls never gets old because from race to race you never know who's going to win! It all depends on the course, how well ones bike functions, or how good your legs feel on that given day. Plus, they are all such great people...its really hard to not have fun with them!
The race started with Sarah taking the lead and Erica right behind her. Emma, a Xterra pro who frequents the I-Cup races for training, was in third followed by KC and I. About halfway around the first lap Emma dropped her chain which allowed KC and I to move up. By then Erica and Sarah had gapped us just a bit. By the start of the second lap I was sitting in a solid fourth behind Emma who had chased her way back to third. I held a steady pace slowly closing the gap on Emma nearly the whole second lap and was finally able to make a pass just before the start of the third lap. I could see her chasing hard as we rode through the twisty single track and knew KC was not far behind. By the start of the fourth lap I could see Sarah not far ahead but knew it would be nearly impossible to catch up. At about the halfway point of the final lap I looked back to see KC...not a surprise. I was right in the middle of Sarah and KC, the gap between KC and I too close for comfort and the gap between Sarah and I just out of reach! I could live with third place today, I thought to myself. But the last mile of the loop was grueling and I was running on fumes! I did end up holding my position and was happy with my ride. I didn't make any big mistakes, my bike functioned well, and I felt like I rode steady unlike the continuous decline in speed and power I suffered at Deer Valley. Consistency during races has not been easy this year, mostly because I think my life outside of racing is never consistent with my ever-changing school schedule.
|Sherwood Hills podium|
|The Usual Suspects! Sarah, KC, me, and Erica (from L to R)|