Sunday, May 27, 2007

Whidbey Island Mudder

It's never a good sign when they put 'mudder' in the name of a race. The recent dry weather however made this a misnomer, as the trails were dry to the point of being dusty. The few sprinkles of rain we had before and during the race only made the course better, tacking it down nicely, so the sandy sections weren't quite so sketchy.

With only a few hundred feet from the start before getting into singletrack, a fast start was pretty essential. I got the hole shot I was looking for, but the rest of the pack was not quite so fortunate. A crash in the back took a few gals down and then a tangle up at the front led to 2 of my strongest competitors going down. They fell pretty hard but both managed to get back up. Only one continued on though as the other (my team mate Nic) couldn't put any weight on her wrist. She did the right thing to quit then and there, as later X-rays revealed what she suspected - a fractured ulna. This sucks because 6 weeks in a cast is no fun for anyone, and in the middle of race season a complete waste of all the hard effort put into training. Plus we only have a few good riding months in the year, and she'll be out for some of the best :(

Because of the gap I managed to get off the start, I raced alone for the entire race. I had to be extra careful to stay focused as I knew that Kristi would use all her strength and determination to catch back up with me. I used the men in front of me as rabbits to catch and imagined my competition breathing down my neck. The twisty course with short ups and downs was challenging at times, but I kept it clean, and I got some good flow going.

I think I'm smiling in this picture - it's near the end and I know I can't be caught. I'm about to relish my first win as a pro racer.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Back on Local Turf - SeaTac Race

Heady from my trip down South, I'm adjusting to the local terrain (or should that be rain?) again. Yes, I missed the trees, roots, verdant greenery, but didn't exactly miss the rain.
Can't complain about race day at SeaTac though, as the sun peaked out kept the course dry and our spirits up. I can however complain about the brutal pace that Kristie set off from the start of the race though - I think she thought it was a cyclocross race! She was smoking fast and I didn't see her for the rest of the race. Although not technical the course is brutal because it's all power, with no place to rest as there's no significant descending.

I managed to over-cook a turn on my first lap and ungraciously dismounted (ok, ok fell). I Got back on quickly before the gal behind could overtake me, but everything was all cock-eyed with my saddle pointing a funny direction. I pulled over to adjust it and turns out I had completely bent one of the rails. My God, I didn't think the chocolate cake Chris made for my birthday had that many calories in it!

I straightened it a little, but had to race all lopsided for the rest of the course. I stood out of the saddle more because the saddle was kind of painful to sit on. It was probably a good thing because I kept more speed on the climbs. I caught back up with the gals that passed me whilst I was messing with my saddle and kept my pace up hoping to catch back up with the lead gal. I only managed to catch up with the rabbits crossing the course as it was getting late in the day. Turns out I was chasing a non-existing competitor - she had dropped out to fix a broken chain and was actually behind me chasing to catch back up again, so I squeaked a first place, due to too much power in my competitor's legs!