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.
Going into this race I had a lot of motivation to beat the result I had last year where I finished 6th place in the HS group. I got there early to help setup and ended up doing a lot more pre-riding than I should have because my friend David was trying his first race ever so I wanted to help him out. Once the races finally got started I sat down and waited for my group to go. My other friend Dan showed up, who rides for Colvita, and was looking to race. I watched David go off right before I started to warm up and I hoped that he would do well and like the race. Turns out David finished third in the HS B group and wants to try more mountain biking.
The race started and Dan and I were in first and second place going into the first climb. Going up the climb, Dillon passed both of us and we never saw him again. It became a race for second between me and Dan. For the first few laps Dan stayed about 100 yards ahead of me. On the fourth lap I reeled Dan in and passed him on the climb. Dan stayed on my wheel for the rest of the race but I was determined not to get passed. Dan dropped back towards the end of the last lap and I cruised to a second place finish.
BL and I went to Branch Brook on Saturday to get some good racing miles in this weekend. My first race was the Cat 4/5. Good thing I was able to get a decent warm up because the first two laps were full gas. I surprised to see 30+ mph for the first two laps and was later informed by BL that we shed about half of the 75 rider field very early in the race. About 4 laps in I was close to the front and a couple of guys got a gap so I jumped up to them.
So the horn blows and we leave the start line. An unfamiliar pace line again other than Utah Joe. We stay real tite for at least a quarter of the first lap before thinning out. Mike Merrit again takes off into the singletrack to never be seen again??? Its Utah and me rubbing tires and exchanging encouraging words to get a strong pace moving. Within minutes Utah leaves me and I am left to fend for myself. I kept strong and never bobbled. There was no mud and I was on my game. This is my course.