11 April 2011 | Race Reports
Pro XCT #2: Fontana Race Report
For those of you who have never been to Fontana, let me describe it: 5 minutes into the lap you come to a steep (granny gear) climb that doesn’t seem too bad until you turn a corner and it keeps going. Then you turn another corner and…it keeps going…and going. It only takes a few minutes to ride up, but a few minutes can seem like an utter eternity when your legs are screaming and you are trying as hard as you can to keep from tipping over. You know, the kind of climb where spectators can walk (slowly!) beside you and cheer you on while you are going as hard as you can. Once at the top, you get a little rest riding downhill on fun, swoopy trails with a few rocks thrown in to keep you on your toes. A short climb, then another long, fast singletrack downhill that dumps you out onto a fire road for a couple minutes. One more short grinder climb and some fast singletrack back to the finish. Repeat 4 times. Luckily, all the rain had made the course tacky and fast (meaning- I might actually be able to RIDE the whole climb instead of getting off and hoofing it- which always makes you look soooo pro).
Anyway, I got a good start and got out front early, but I knew it was going to be a tough race, so I didn’t go out too hard (or so I thought)- just hard enough to stay in front. I led the whole first lap, and Catharine caught me coming through the feed zone on lap 2. I rode with her for a few minutes, but when we hit the steep climb my legs were so loaded up that I only had one pace. Unfortunately, that one pace was pretty slow and Catharine just rode away. I had to settle in and ride my own pace, and it seemed like the gap was immediately a minute. What the heck? I continued to suffer through the next two laps– not only did my legs feel bad, I was getting negative and just all-around feeling sorry for myself. Once I start feeling sorry for myself, I started riding like crap too which doesn’t help. Catharine was gone, but I could still see Lea behind me at a few spots on the course, and I was pretty sure that she was going to catch me too. I felt like everyone was going to catch me and drop me.
And then, at the end of the 3rd lap I actually started feeling good. My legs were clearing out a little better, and I was riding faster and better technically. I started feeling a little more positive. Maybe racing bikes wasn’t the hardest thing in the world- maybe it was actually kind of fun. Unfortunately, I was still too far back for my about-face to have any impact on the finishing order, and I rolled in in 2nd about 1:30 behind Catharine. Well, better to have started out feeling bad and ended feeling good than the other way around.
And for those of you who prefer the spoken word:
Sunday’s short track race was a whole different beast. Without any long climb, the race was going to stay together and be a little more tactical. It was. It was actually a good race; there was a group of 5 of us and everyone was motivated. The course was fast enough and the pace was high enough that it was hard to put in a big acceleration and get a gap. Everyone tried attacking, but no one was going to let anyone go. There was one place I thought I could get away but it would have to be with one lap to go. Unfortunately, some people were telling us that there were two more laps to go when in fact there was only one. So of course I was at the very back of the group in the absolute worst position when we started the last lap. In the all-out one lap sprint I could only manage 4th. Geez, you would think I had never raced one of these races… In any case, it was great to see Chloe take her first big win by racing a smart race. Hopefully I’ll get all this tactics stuff figured out here sometime…
And in my post-race babble: