This weekend was one that is always fun for us. The Frisco course is at the Nordic Center and generally fairly twisty with a lot of singletrack and short, punchy climbs. We always seem to forget that there is a long, paved climb at the start that kills us! It's also at a beautiful time of year in the Rockies, with the aspen trees covering the hills with gold. The one downside is that the ACA Junior Cross Camp was this weekend, so they didn't offer any Junior racing. Nick was stoic about this, since they have both a skate park and bike park in which he could spend his time. Saturday was also the first Cross Cup race of the year, which is the season long series, so we knew there would be a good turnout.
Day 1--I was looking for some redemption this weekend, since the past two years I've gotten injured at this race in crashes. As expected, the field was on the large side for this year at over 40 riders (they've added a 35+/Cat 3 race this year which has reduced our field size by about a third). All the fast guys were in attendance, and the long start climb loomed. Callups were based on last year's
points, so I ended up in the 4th row. I got a pretty good start anyway, but faded toward the top of the climb to somewhere in the high 30's. I was feeling really good, though, railing the loose corners and even passing riders on the climb during the race. I probably worked my way up to about mid-20's, but unfortunately I was cooked with about a lap and a half to go. Through tired riding and concentration lapses, I lost about 7 or 8 spots, rolling across the line in 33rd. Overall, I felt great about how I had ridden for the most part, but definitely need to finish stronger.
Day 2--As expected, a much smaller field showed up on Sunday, with only about 15 guys on the line, but there was still plenty of depth. As a result, I was first row at the start. Determined to start better, I jumped at the whistle, and was elbow to elbow with the fast guys up the climb. I paid for that effort towards the top, and the field flowed past me like the tide! I jumped into the singletrack, determined to make up places, and immediately starting riding an attacking race. I was able to pick off a number of riders in my category, and finished 11th, without any late race fade this time. I feel like I really put it together for this race, I didn't lose places to any significant mistakes (other than the start climb struggles). Next weekend is the USGP New Belgium Cup in Ft Collins, which is part of the national points series and has ranking and callup implications for Nationals, so it's coming together at the right time.
The girls I race with are so fun. We are friendly and chatty at the start of the race but when it's time to get down to business the gloves come off. Day 1—I was excited about the race. This is generally a course I look forward to. The paved climb at the start and on each lap is always a challenge (especially at 9000'). I got off the line well and fell to about 10th. The legs/lungs were feeling the burn. I felt really confident on the course and nailed all the turns. Eventually I moved my way up to 5th by staying focused and making aggressive passes. I was very happy and completely spent at the end of the race.
Day 2—At breakfast Carl showed me the Summit Daily newspaper and there I was on the front page! Great to see the Women's field in the news. Usually my legs are revved up and ready for day 2. This was not the case at the start. The whistle blew and my start was great but before I knew it I was DFL. ugh. The first half of my race can be summed up as heavy legs and lack of mental focus. I blew corners that I was nailing on Sat. and much further back in the field then I should be. Then I gave myself a stern talking to and my legs started to come around. I stared to focus on girls ahead of me and slowly make my way up. I finished 7th w/a mix of emotions…frustrated, disappointed and happy that I turned my race around.
All in all it was a fun weekend up in the mountains. Thanks for reading.