This weekend brought the always popular Blue Sky Velo race, which we helped to put on, and the Monarch CX race. It also brought the return of the Junior racing, so Nick could get back at it! The BSV race was at the oft used Xilinx campus--Xilinx is a very cycling friendly company that allows as many as 2-3 races each year on their property. They generally yield fast, less technical courses that don't really play to our strengths, but the venue is great so we always enjoy them. Monarch was at a local high school and featured a mostly grass course with lots of tight, twisty sections to try to even out the fast, power sections. Overall, it was a fairly balanced course. We spent Friday afternoon setting the course for the Saturday race, and then were out there at 6:30am on Sat morning to set our tent and get ready for the day. We had a spot in the expo area so we could hand out samples of Fluid recovery drink as well as chews and drink mix from FRS. We also had schwag from American Classic that we handed out to anyone that showed us their AC wheels. It was a lot of fun, and we got a great response. It was also quite a bit of work, and not necessarily the best race prep!
Nick's field was 14 kids deep and primed to go. The course had been slightly shortened to eliminate some of the taller barriers, but that meant the kids would do 2 laps, resulting in the longest race yet. At the whistle, Nick charged up the start hill along with all the other youngsters. He was super smooth through the barriers, and did a great job of pushing through, wearing his 'suffer face' from mid race on. At the end, he still had enough gas left to out sprint another boy to capture 12th place and avoid the lanterne rouge.
Sunday's course was a challenge for the kids on their heavy bikes--it had a lot of short, steep climbs that were really hard. Nonetheless, Nick got a great start--rolling all the way up the start stretch in 3rd place. He was a trouper throughout the tough course, and manged to repeat his 12th place of the previous day.
My field was the typically deep field of strongmen. Since this course was built for fast riders, I knew it would be a challenge for me. I got a good start, then settled into a group of about 6 riders. The course had a fun pair of short barriers that were perfect for bunny hopping and I cleared them every time. I had a couple of flat laps in the middle, but started feeling better for the final two and was able to claw back a number of places. I managed 27th out of 40+ finishers and was pretty satisfied with that.
Sunday morning I was definitely feeling the efforts of the previous two days. I didn't do as much intensity in my warm up, hoping to marshal my reserves for the race. I ended up feeling pretty good--the start was decent, and after some completely unnecessary braking by the field, I was fired up enough to pass quite a few guys. I was riding strongly in the top 20 on the second lap when I laid it down hard making a poorly thought out pass on an off camber section. It took me a bit to get my wits back and get going, during which time 5-6 guys got past. I struggled to get power down for the rest of the race, so had a fair number come by me, and was only able to get back a few of the places. Eventually, I rolled in at 27th again, but pretty sore. I'm okay with it, but feel like there was a missed opportunity there. Too often, I feel I race without enough aggression, but this time maybe I should have dialed it back a bit.
This weekend was packed full of racing and socializing. Since we were at the venue all day on Sat, we had the rare opportunity to cheer on friends who race in the later part of the day. Both days of racing for me had ups and downs but ultimately finished on high notes. Sat. I had an unfortunate crash in one of the first turns soon after the start, my wheel caught some soft dirt and I found myself in the middle of the course. Whoops. I picked myself back up and started regaining my position. I found myself in 5th with a 1.5 laps to go and then lost my concentration and once again was on the ground. Shoot. I got back up and tried to chase back on but to no avail. I was pleased with 6th considering the crashes but of course would have liked better.
Sun. I had a good start off the line but didn't maintain my starting position and drifted to about mid-pack. I once again gave myself a talking to and tried to maintain focus while moving up through the field. I was happy with the aggressive/smart passes I made and on the last lap I was in a group with 2 other girls (5,6,7 position). I drafted for a bit to recover and then made an attack before one of the single-track sections. I was hoping to maintain this gap knowing that one of the girls was a really good sprinter. Everything worked in my favor and I finished in 5th.
Next up, the thick grass of Interlocken! Another local favorite. Thanks for reading.