Race number 1 for me...yippee. Haha, it's so funny how nervous I still get, even for an Island Cup race, you'd think after doing so many larger races that these wouldn't phase me, but Regan had to make a couple nervous belly stops for me on the drive up to Cobble Hill. The course was great, long steady climb up, sweet singletrack loop at the top, and fast flowy descent back to the start, repeat. As you know, I've been on the trainer a lot this winter, and it's funny how much you forget that climbing hills really really hurts....haha, but it came back to me really fast.
Catherine Vipond raced as well, so it ended up being a great battle all day! Mass start (great turn out!!) straight up the climb. As per usual, I always have a great start, like really good starts, and I found myself 4 spots back from leader Matt Hadley, thinking 'WOW, this is awesome, I feel so strong'..........fast forward 10 mins later near the top of the climb......bouncing off of every root and rock, the metallic taste in the back of my throat, and a quick glance back shows that Vipond is gaining on me fast. I crack pretty hard right near the top of the climb and she passes me like I'm standing still....which I pretty much was, and manages to put 3 or 4 guys in between us. On to the singletrack, I finally recover a little and start to find my groove, but I'm stuck in traffic and I watch her slowly get farther and farther ahead of me.
Awesome fun downhill, with some tight twisty corners and a few places to get a little bit of XC air!!! I've been practicing my XC air, so fun. At the bottom of lap 1 I have a split of almost a minute down, and as I round the corner and start to climb, I can see Catherine ahead of me just turning out of sight. I have a great climb on the second lap, start off with a lot more......ummmmm...of a realistic pace for me, and close the gap to about 20 seconds by the time I see Regan snapping pic's on the downhill.
I chase again for the whole climb up the last lap and manage to catch and pass her on one of the last climbs of course....and I hammer. I'm usually a really strong descender but I was struggling a little (blaming it on my trainer time and being on a borrowed bike), and I couldn't shake her. We rounded the last corner into the straightway for a sprint finish, with me in front and Catherine right on my wheel. I stand and hammer to the finish, only to find out later Catherine took the last corner really aggressively to try to set herself up for the sprint and skidded out. Thanks Catherine for the battle!!!!
Regan treated me to an awesome Noodle Box feast and I passed out on the couch while he cleaned the bikes....yup, he's a keeper. Haha, I can't believe how trashed I felt after that race, I haven't pushed myself that hard in a long, long time. Intervals just never do race pace justice! It was great to blow out all the gunk from my legs and hopefully set myself up for a great race next weekend in Columbia. One week to go, fly out on Thursday.
Pic's to come :)