Coming into this race I was a little apprehensive. I'd heard some mixed reviews on the course's terrain, ranging from "Oh it's like KVSP" to "It's the hardest race course you will ever ride" I was hoping it would be closer to KVSP and so I was psyched when we pre rode the first two miles of the course and they were completely barren of rocks, definitely a good sign! I ignored my dad's warning of "It will get harder" and headed back to the start area, finished my warm up, and acquainted myself with a few of the other female racers. I felt kind of blah in the beginning of my warmup but then pumped up my tires a little bit (it felt like they were melting into the ground) and suddenly I felt a million times faster.
Anyway, I lined up for the start of my race and learned that there was only one other woman in my field, I decided to "race" against the entire women's field as well so as to give myself some extra competition. I ended up in the second line for the start but was the farthest to the outside so I was hoping that that would work to my advantage. As the whistle went off it was like somebody had lit a match underneath my legs and they were exploding. I quickly shot infront of the rest of the pack and looking back saw I already had a twenty foot gap, I knew that the pace I was keeping up was unsustainable no matter how good I felt so I forced myself to slow down and prepare myself for the beginning climb. Good thing I did, my heart rate was still through the roof on the climb but I was able to hold my position well enough and only three women passed me. I quickly passed one of them back on the downhill and passed the point where I had stopped pre riding. I swear, about twenty feet after this spot, the trail became super technical, I guess I had found out where all of the rocks had went! My technical skills felt great and I was able to completely clear the next two miles with only a few dabs here and there. I rode through the cave (anybody who does not know this place there is a huge cave that the course goes through, it is pitch black and the only way to find your way out is to follow a tiny little strip of weak lights (similar to the ones in movie theaters) while hoping you don't ride over anything on the uneven and off camber ground. Anyway, went through the cave alive and continued to feel super strong throughout my first lap. Unfortunately I did hit a 1/2 mile section that was unrideable to me the first lap, having not pre ridden the course, I ended up walking my bike and thinking that it had been a long time since I had had to walk my bike this much, but then I caught a couple of other racers walking and stopped beating myself up so much. I finished my first lap up in thirty seven minutes, and held my position as third women.Unfortunately, the women who I had went back and forth with on the first climb had caught up with me again. We raced together for a little while but I was beginning to feel the efforts I had done earlier in the week and she passed me again. I finished the second lap in forty three minutes, but I only got passed that once so I was fourth overall in the women's category. My official competition in the 15-34 bracket was MIA, but I knew that she was more of a roadie so I assumed that the technical sections had run her amuck. I raced my third lap despite the fact that I was quickly loosing energy and managed to finish it in forty one minutes, negative split, yay! This race was really fun despite the few super technical sections, after the race I found out that a lot of people had ended up walking them and that made me feel a lot better. I cooled down for twenty minutes and then went for a nice refreshing swim in the lake. In the overall women's category I came in fourth and I won my official category. This race definitely helped me recover some confidence after Jungle, where my technical skills and legs were both AWOL. Overall this was an awesome race and I look forward to racing in it again next year!