This weekend finally brought some much needed snow to the front range of Colorado, and along with it frigid temps. It was a great opportunity to ride in some less than perfect conditions (which we prefer!), as well as start to dial in clothing options for Madison in January when it will be truly cold! The courses on tap were the venerable Louisville Rec Center, which features a large stadium-like bowl so the course obviously drops in and climbs out numerous times. It's never been a favorite of ours, but we were eager to try it in the snow! Sunday's course was a new one so we had no idea what to expect (other than snow).
Nick decided to sit this weekend out, since his 8am starts would be really cold, and as the first race of the day, the course would be pretty tough.
I was a bit ambivalent going into Saturday's race--it was freezing out and I wasn't feeling great. Once I started warming up on the course, however, I was having a great time and enjoying the slippery, technical turns. Unfortunately, when my race started, there was only a single track, with 6-8" of snow on both sides. So, the guy that lined up on that track won the race, whereas the rest of us struggled to get onto it and by the time order was set I was pretty much at the back.
I was able to move up throughout the race, passing quite a few guys, but ended up in a somewhat disappointing 22nd place.
Sunday's race schedule was shuffled around, and my two main categories, Master's 35+ and 45+ were on either side of Kristal's race, so wouldn't allow any warm up time. Instead, I opted to race the 35+/Cat 3 race. It was run 1 minute behind the regular 'young guys' Cat 3 race.
Fields were small, since the race was far from Boulder. I had 11 in my field and there were 5 in the 3's. I got an okay start up the icy straight, ending up in 7th place. I was able to steadily pick guys off during the race. I had a few bobbles on slick corners, especially the ones onto the sidewalk, where black ice was a constant hazard. In the end, I was 4th in my race, and finished less than 50' behind the 2nd and 3rd place riders from the Cat 3 race, having made up a minute on them! I was psyched with that result!
The Louisville course has always been a good challenge since we run out of the fore mentioned bowl a couple times. This year with the snow we had even more running!
At the start of my race the husband of one of my fellow racers actually shoveled out the starting area, but everyone still funneled into the singletrack very quickly. I wanted to get off the line fast and managed to get the hole shot. Kristin Weber and I had a bit of a gap and we tried to extend. Eventually, 2 of the really fast girls came by and Kristin and I were left to duke it out. We stayed together pretty much the whole race. She is a much faster runner and would gain/pass me on the running sections.
Fortunately, there was more riding then running so I was able to get past her and hold on for 3rd place. It was a fun day in slippery conditions.
Sunday I did a couple laps on the course as usual but made the mistake of not taking the course at race pace. This resulted in a sloppy (from a performance standpoint) first couple of laps. I got the hole shot again and headed into the singletrack in 1st.
I made a few bobbles and was passed. Then super fast Rebecca Gross came by after overcoming a really unfortunate start. I tried to hang onto her wheel but off she went. I held onto 3rd but felt it was a very mediocre ride. I was fighting my bike and not really charging, mentally off my game. Oh well, onward to the next weekend.
Thanks for reading.