Well, Winter decided to show up on the first race weekend! Holy Moses it was 30 something degrees and felt like 20 something! I don’t know about you guys, but I come from the El Paso desert and that was COLD!!! So we drove into town midday Saturday to pre-ride a couple of laps. The trail had quite a bit of rain about a week or a week and a half before this race, and not to mention a 12 hour race last weekend in the muddy mess. Thanks to all the Paydirters out there who put in several hours throughout the week to get the trail in tip-top amazing shape! It couldn’t have been any better to rail corners and pedal your bike! Based off our pre-ride I knew this was going to be a FAST race, and it was! Normally we would campout, but with this crazy weather we dished out the extra cash for a motel. In the morning we had the motel breakfast of champions….WAFFLES! Our start time was 11am, but several guys and gals on our team were starting at 9am so we rolled out early to cheer them on.
There ended up being five other girls lined up with me at the starting line. One was Jessica Rawlins who is the 2011 Cat 1 19-39 State Champion, and the other was Christina Gokey-Smith, Jessica’s coach and also Professional Road Racer for NOW and Novartis for MS cycling team. This was also the first time that they launched a group of guys with us girls at the start. Not only that, but there seemed to be no countdown at the start, just a loud, “GO!” It all caught me by surprise and I missed my pedal badly. As I fumbled around trying to get clipped in on this uphill start all the guys behind me started passing and I got caught in the middle of it all not being able to move up in the field. As soon as it opened up a little bit I charged to bridge the gap the best I could back to Christina and went into the single track in 3rd right behind Jessica. This is pretty much how the entire race was. Since Christina had the hole shot we went into the trail already behind. Jessica and I flip-flopped a few times holding 2nd and 3rd place the whole race. I felt great! Jessica was in front of me as we entered the last section of single track and I knew I had to stay as close to her wheel as possible if I was going to be able to have a chance at taking second. The final right hand turn popping out of the trail came quick and so did the finish line! There just weren’t enough yards to out sprint her. We both made the turn, got off our saddles and sprinted, and she crossed the line one second in front of me! It was such an AWESOME race! Christina finished one minute and thirty seconds in front of us.
Carlos’ field was 42 deep. There was a small crash about 100 yards from the start that he got tangled behind and ended up going into single track about 36th. He did the best he could to pass as many guys as he could and ended up in 19th. His legs felt great and sometimes things out of your hands will get in the way. All in all this race is a great benchmark to know how much our winter training has paid off!
Here are just a few pics and we will have more to come!!!