After a multitude of pre-rides the week leading up to Sunday, I lined up with a pretty good idea of my strategy for the race. The course begins on a part of the trail that’s very twisty with a lot of off-camber, rooty turns. It gradually gets a little bit more open as you go, but, as I posted last time, it’s generally twisty and rooty with intermittent “open up and hammer” spots punctuated by more “tight/twisty, don’t-hit-a-tree” spots.
So, when the race started, I jumped off the line to get the holeshot, then settled in to a pace just a hair under my usual “go to plaid” cross-country pace. That allowed me to conserve some energy, stay off the brakes, ride a little smoother through the first part of trail, and increase my lead on the other women by 2-3 seconds at a time with each little twisty spot. At the top of the “drop” (a short/steep, rooty downhill) on the blue trail, I estimate I had about a 10 second gap. I rode the drop at the exact speed at which I wanted to make the sweeping right-hand turn at the bottom, then dropped the hammer for a minute, and was loooong gone.
With the exception of passing some of the Cat 1/2 50+ men that started a minute ahead of us, the remaining 2 hours and 10 minutes worth of racing would be done solo. My goal then shifted to staying focused and maintaining a hard pace (something I often have trouble with when I end up by myself). I did a pretty good job, though I did “drift off” a couple of times on the 2nd lap and had to remind myself to keep on the gas. I ended up running a time of 2:23:50, which is a little over 6 minutes faster than my course time last year.
I’m super stoked to pick up the State Championship XC jersey this year.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that I’m very happy with the XX1 group on the Jet (not to mention the Jet itself… freaking awesome bike for that sort of terrain). It has taken some getting used to- I still find myself sometimes shifting too many gears at once, simply because I’m used to the closer spacing on the 2×10 rear shifting. However, its function has been flawless so far. I was going to clean it up and post some photos, but I’ll gonna wait until I get my matching rear wheel back from I9 (should arrive a little later this week).
Following the race, I took the long way to the grocery store on the scooter, then headed to my parents’ house with Ryan to cook Father’s Day dinner. Since steakhouses are stupid expensive and full of other people taking their dads out to Father’s Day dinner, I brought the steakhouse to the kitchen… or something like that.
(Dry aged, grass-fed New York strip with gremolata, green beans, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes)