First, a thorough recap of the grueling Big Bear Shootout #2, series final of the Kenda Cup West Series.
This last race in the Kenda Cup Series was identical to the Big Bear race two weeks ago in every aspect except the bike I choose to toe the line with. Coach Matt said it was a good idea to race the Ninja Beast (Mt Vision) to get a feeling for climbing on/racing it in preparation for D-ville in August. So I went to the line a little nervous about racing the slightly heavier, much squishy-er bike on a course very well suited to a hard tail. This time I tried to pace myself a bit better off the line, and I set the Garmin to beep every 5 minutes to remind me to drink (also coach's idea). Just like last time, the first climb was a bear because of the altitude, and the desire to crush as many pro men as possible. Then I settled into a comfortably painful pace, and made steady progress towards the single track. The first few miles of single track in the race are climb-y, and sprinkled with little technical rock features. I was pleased with how easy these features seemed on the Ninja, as well as the ease of passing people on the loose/brushy sides of the trail. Ninja bike basically made the last 10 miles of the race a blast, and we cruised down the rocky, technical final descent to a first place finish as well as a series win.
Although there were only 2 pro women in the final race of the series (and at Bonelli #2 I was alone), I really enjoyed racing this series again this year. Team Big Bear makes each race so much fun (especially the creepier of the race crew, ahem, Gavin), and I really enjoyed chasing the men around at every race, trying my darndest to keep up.
I am also so pleased with the Ninja Mt Vision. Climbed great despite it's super slack trail geometry, and then was a blast to descend on. Thanks Marin Bikes for letting me race two of your awesome mountain bikes this year!
Now stay tuned for epic Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado trip updates! I am currently sitting in the Seattle Airport eating cheese samples waiting for my flight to Missoula. Let's do this thing!