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20 July 2010  |  Race Reports

US National Championships, Granby, CO

How nervous was I for this race?
I can’t even believe how nervous I was!

After having disappointing results at Nationals the last 3 years, I was ready to turn things around; and after winning the last few Pro XCT races, I knew I was capable of winning… but you never know.  Everything has to come together, and there is always a little bit of luck involved too.

The course was different than last year, but it still featured plenty of climbing and loose, rutted descents.  I knew I wanted to be at the front or at least in the front group at the start, but I didn’t want to blow it up too much- sometimes altitude can shut you down pretty quickly.  It’s hard though- I mean, it IS the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS- adrenaline is pumping, and everybody is gunning from the start.

Willow had a great start, and I was right on her wheel heading up the first climb.  I felt like I could ride a little faster, so I went around and tried to settle in and just ride steady for the first part of the race.  Willow and Heather were right with me for the first half lap, but I was able to open up a gap on the new bumpy part of the course.  I was feeling good, and it seemed like the gap was growing every lap, but I knew it wouldn’t be over until I crossed the finish line (my teammate Shonny would have won the national championships in 2005, but a flat in the last mile of the course led to a crash in the final corner- 3 people passed her in the last 100 yards).

I rode the last downhill conservatively, and once I was close enough to the finish line that I could literally run if i had to, I knew I had it.  Finally!  I was thrilled to be National Champion again and relieved to have this big race behind me.

The next day I woke up and felt like I had been run over by a truck.  I wasn’t too worried, because sometimes I feel like crap warming up and then feel great in the race, so I knew I could still have a good race.

I decided to start a little slower and see how everybody (including myself…) was feeling.  Willow led us out for a few laps, but then Katie put in a huge attack and opened up a gap.  I had nothing.  I rode around by myself in 2nd place- suffering- until the 25 minutes were up. (I always know I really look like I am suffering when Waldek stops encouraging me to go harder and just says things like “just hang on” and “keep spinning”)  So I finished 2nd- not too shabby, but I would have liked to make it a better race- as it was, I think it was pretty boring with everyone riding around by themselves.

Now I am getting ready to head to Europe for the next two world cups.  I am feeling good, riding well, and hoping things will come together in Champery and Val di Sole!


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