Today we had a smallish race at Valmont Bike Park that served two purposes, first of all, it was a tuneup race for the many locals who are heading to Madison for Cross Nationals this week. Secondly, it was an opportunity to see how the course rode and held up in snow as a test run for Nationals being held there in January, 2014. We're looking forward to having Nationals be a local race! Since the fields were expected to be small today, they wisely condensed it down to just 4 races labeled A-D. The A race would be the Men's Open (Cats 1 & 2), B race would be Men's 3's and Women's Cat 1 & 2. This meant that for the first time Kristal and I would actually race each other! The course was different than any previous ones at Valmont, fairly twisty and covered with snow that in many places would melt to mud during our race. It featured a climb up "The Corkscrew", which is usually a high banked turn descent and was a real grunt to ascend on each lap. It also took us up the infamous "5280 Stairs" that feature 24 steps.
Staging was a mess, since they didn't bother with any callups. It harkened back to about 4 years ago, when everyone would just mill around near the start area and line up 15-20 minutes before start time. Not realizing this was happening, Kristal and I both ended up with pretty poor start positions. I was off in the weeds and snow to the side of the group, in about 6th row, while Kristal was another row or two back, but at least on the course. Despite being only slightly motivated this morning for the race, at the start I was ready to roll. A bunch of juniors had lined up at the front so they charged at the whistle. I tore off through grass, snow, and bushes in hot pursuit. I was probably somewhere in the 20's when we got onto the main course. I was confident, though, and kept passing at every opportunity. I had a few crashes, but nothing serious and was able to get up and get going again with minimal losses. In the end, I out sprinted a junior for 6th place (with 4 more juniors ahead of me--the future is bright in Colorado!), and was totally psyched with that result. It's a confidence builder at the perfect time as we leave for Madison on Monday.
My motivation this morning was a bit low but after getting in a few laps on course I was excited. It was fun to have a snowy course! As Carl mentioned I was pretty far back in the field but looked at it as practice for moving forward in a large group. When the whistle blew I started looking for gaps and moved up fairly quickly. This last weeks snow riding paid off today and I felt smooth and confident in the corners. I had a good race with a collegiate racer from Durango and we sprinted to the line, she got me but it was a fun sprint. I'm super eager for the upcoming week, I'm even looking forward to the drive to provide a little down time for both Carl and myself!
Madison Schedule and Plan:
Monday morning we'll be loading up the van and heading out to Madison. Carl's Mom is watching the kids again this year for us (thanks Elaine!). Carl does the 'B' race (non championship) Wednesday afternoon, and immediately after that Kristal race the Women's Singlespeed Championship race. Based on results to date, I am predicted 10th in the B race, and Kristal is 3rd in the SS. We'll both be riding hard to beat those!
Our Master's races are on Friday, with Carl's 45-49 going off at 9:30 and Kristal's 35-39 at 3pm. Carl is predicted 36th, and Kristal 2nd. Again, we'll both be driving to better those! Weather forecast calls for high 30's and sunny on Wed, same temps but rain on Thurs, then mid 30's and snow on Friday, so it looks like true cross weather for the end of the week! Check back for updates and pictures as the week goes on, and we'll try to be active on Facebook and Twitter as well. Wish us luck!
Thanks for reading.