With a fury of tires and dust the xc race is off, with 35 degree heat, lots of sun, lots of climbing and almost 50 pro women. I feel a nudge from the left side, so I nudge back a little, another little push from the left and still I hold my ground, I'm not letting this girl in. Then all of a sudden, out of no where there is a blue and orange streak that bolts in front of me from my right side and the rest is pure mayham. I feel my center of balance start to shift, and all of a sudden I'm flying through the air sideways for what seems like 10 minutes. Then down goes the Luna Chix Katerina beside me, and a VeloBella girl and I'm pretty sure there was at least one more bike in that mess. I still feel like I'm flying through the air, but actually I'm skidding along the ground on my left side, feeling the skin tear from my knee and hip. As the rest of the crowd weaves around the mess and the cloud begins to lift we scramble to collect ourselves and our bikes..we've still got a lap and a half left to go. When I finally get back on the bike I find myself in last place, definitely not the kind of redemption I was looking for after my bad start during the short track. Well, I guess that's part of racing isn't it? A couple of minutes later I see another CDN rider, Mary-Ellen Ash picking herself up out of a corner after a so called belly flop into the gravel..ouch. Lots of loose corners here too.
I settle in and decide the best option is to not panick and try to catch up with the main group, but to take it easy and just ride my own pace. Easily I pick off the bottom half of the pack, and by the end of the first lap I'm in the top fifteen with a few more riders within my sights. This course has long steep non technical climbs and long sweeping non technical descents with rough flat track mixing it up. The steep climbs are well suited to my spinning style, but while the non tech descents are fast, I find I have a better advantage at the fast techy downhills. Going into the half lap I down a Cheer Pack and my legs feel great. By the turn for the half lap I catch up to Catherine P from Norco and just as I do she picks up the pace, just to make it tough on me. I follow behind her, up the climbs trying to keep her pace and just about croak in the process; she's found some reserve gas. We crest the last climb and I find my reserve. Passing her on the downhill I pop it into big ring and get ready to hammer out the last couple km into the finish. Catherine hops on my wheel, up ahead I see the blue form of eigth position. Slowly I see Catherine's shadow getting ever so slightly behind, which is a huge confidence booster, and as we round the last corner to the finish I've got a huge smile....my first top ten in a Norba XC. Great race for both of us, finishing 9th and 10th..yippee.
Finished in ninth position, made a couple bucks and had a great weekend. Today, after the race we went for a nice easy ride, checking out some of the Tour de California route, there are some amazing backroads here. Then I hitched a ride with a couple of Canadians, the Rocky Mountain mechanic Mike, Max Plaxton, Trish Sinclair and Catherine P, into my deluxe king sized bed at the Motel 6 by the LA airport. It was a bit of an adventure, missing the turn, getting lost in a ghetto mexi neighbourhood and having white pride yelled at us, but we made it safe and sound. The rest of them are off to Redlands to wait out the week until the next race this weekend in Fontana, but for me, I'm off to play with rocks and water in Vancouver.