Yep, yesterday was a crazy fun, crazy long exciting whirlwind of a race day that began with a pastry and ended up with a new set of antlers for the front of the van!
The Missoula XC is always held in the late afternoon, with the men's race ending at dusk and the singlespeed/mechanic's race beginning right at sunset. This is kinda unique, and it means all the athletes end up sitting around in the morning wondering how to pass the time without wasting a ton of energy. This year I choose to spin early in the morning to the bakery for my favorite French pastry and coffee, and then to watch last weekend's World Cup DH on redbull.tv. The pastry part was a great idea because I got to chat with team mates and fellow racer Chris Baddick. The DH race watching not such a good idea: I spent the entire 1.5 hours with my heart rate pinned cheering for the riders through my laptop and stressed they may crash (even though I already knew the results, haha).
Eventually 2pm rolled around, and we headed to the course, kitted up and just as I was about to warm up the skies opened up and massive hail rained from above! It was awesome, and unnerving, haha.
Fortunately the hail and rain stopped 35 minutes before our start and I got in a decent warm up and we were at the line, ready for 5 laps of one of my favorite courses in the US.
The start was good, our small field got off the line cleanly and there were a lot of fast ladies all around me. About halfway up on the first lap Erin Huck had whittled the group down to just her, me and Evelyn Dong. Then she attacked and whittled it down to just her with Dong and me chasing.
|Riding in second place, alone, suffering, loving the fight :)|
For the next two laps it was Erin followed by an increasing gap, me and then a little back Evelyn. The pressure was on me to keep Evelyn away, but by the end of lap 3 she was right on my wheel and by the top of lap 4 she came around me and attacked. I guess I need to work on my mental game as much as I put time and energy into intervals because I rolled over and let Evelyn take second from me without a fight, not good bike racing form. The last lap was just an exercise in going as hard as I needed to keep 4th place away, but my legs and lungs didn't have much punch left, so it was a bit pathetic.
I'm still pondering how the race went, trying to figure out what I need to do to get my head in the right space in the throws of battle, but I am stoked to have snagged another set of antlers and some valuable UCI points which will help my call up at Worlds (I hope!). Also the course was so so fun and the spectators here in Missoula are some of the best! I especially likes Mila and Sienna singing One Direction on the climb on lap 4, that turned my suffering centric mindset around a bit and I enjoyed the rest of the race A LOT more after that point, haha.
GTG race short track, so more Missoula goodness to come :)