The weather is starting to finally feel like spring and the temperatures couldn’t be better! Despite all the rain that has kept our trails closed, there is plenty of road to be ridden! Last weekend was the fourth race of the TMBRA State Championship Series, the Cat Claw Classic at Solavaca Ranch in Glen Rose, TX. Now does that name sound familiar?!? If you’ve read our “About Us” page then you know that happens to be the place that started it all! With all the rain that we mentioned above, the race was up in the air with a high chance of getting rained out and possibly being cancelled. Not only that, but Carlos and I got some sort of stomach bug in the middle of last week. He got it MUCH worse than I did with almost 103 degree fever, hot sweats, body aches and just all around crappiness. It was TERRIBLE! He even lost 5 lbs from his average 165 lbs weight! I was well enough to go to work the next day and when I came home he had the nerve to tell me he was going to race the local Wednesday Night Irving Crit! I told him he had lost his mind and the only reason he could say that was because he was lying on the couch not having to use an ounce of energy! LOL The second he stood up to walk around he quickly said, “You’re right. I don’t think I’m racing tonight.” But from now on you can expect mid-week race reports because the local crit series has begun! I didn’t pre-register for Solavaca because despite the stomach bug, I also didn’t know how my elbow was going to feel since I hadn’t been on my mountain bike since my crash at Mellow Johnny’s. We went ahead and drove out there Saturday to check out the trail conditions since we are pretty familiar with the trail and know that the several creek crossings were going to make things pretty slippery. They had about 8 inches of water in them. Considering the circumstances the trail was in tip-top shape thanks to all the work that Mack put into it. My elbow felt pretty good for most of the ride. It was only towards the end that my stitches felt like they were going to rip apart, but I knew a little bit of Aleve would help. For this one we decided not to camp since Glen Rose is practically a local race. (It’s only about 90 miles away.) We had an 8:30am start time which meant we had to wake up at around 4:30am. Compared to our normal Monday-Friday this is actually sleeping in an extra hour for us! : )
Sunday morning we got to the ranch right before the sun came up and we had plenty of time to get ready and get a good warm up in. Carlos had told me to go ahead and let whoever wanted to lead get out in front of me and really focus on just riding my own race. I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel since my riding time had been drastically cut down since after the Comfort Race which was at the end of February. Despite my asthma giving me a little bit of trouble, my legs felt great! Jessica set the pace and we pretty much rode together the entire first lap. Going into the second lap I got stuck behind a few riders in one of the few technical spots on the trail and she was able to open up a gap on me. I kept my focus on staying steady and not blowing up. Later, my chain dropped as I was climbing up out of one of the deeper creek crossings. I put my chain back on, got back on my bike, and right away knew I needed to get off again and spin my wheel because my chain was in the wrong gear. Not sure how long this all took, but it felt like FOREVER! The trail was so much fun that morning and it was really cool to hear your tires roll as you would rail a corner. I was really enjoying being back on my mountain bike! It was a fun steady ride and I ended up a little over two minutes behind Jessica, coming in second place.
Carlos broke the golden rule which is not to make any changes to your bike right before a race. The Specialized Demo Truck was at the ranch on Saturday and he hopped on one of their bikes and really liked the way the stem was set up on it. That night he made some changes on his own bike and said, “tomorrow’s race is a test.” He positioned himself all the way in the back on the starting line. As I was standing behind him I even thought to myself, “why in the world is he all the way in the back?” But I knew he would have his reasons. His group had 28 total and he ended up in 16th place. He absolutely loved the way the bike handled and said to me that this race was the confidence booster that he needed. He felt great both physically and mentally during the race. Accomplishing both of these things in a race isn’t always easy. We have definitely realized that this is where experience shines over fitness. We both understand that it is going to just take time for us to catch up in this way to some of those that have been racing for several years. The one thing that we really want to focus on is to have fun and learn to ride like we train! Riding and racing is supposed to be fun, and every once in a while you have to take a step back from being so serious about your training and racing and just give yourself a break. We both definitely used this race as a break for some breathing room just to see how it would all turn out to JUST HAVE FUN! There were no time-splits, no hard passes, and no added pressure! Just what we needed!
Wherever you are, we hope you are having a great week! Pictures will be posted soon!