Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Winter Park Hill Climb Race Report


This past weekend marked the start of the Winter Park Mountain Bike Series with the infamous 5.2 mile hill climb (i.e. suffer-fest as seen above).

With blue skies and mid 60 degree temps, we couldn't have asked for better weather on race morning. The ladies field was full of great friends and familiar faces and my excitement level was through the roof.

Bryce and I did our usual MTB race warm up and I was ready for the super intense start and the grueling 45min race that was about to take place. From the gun, I took off with my good friend and XTERRA superstar, Sara Tarkington. Although I couldn't hang with her too long (she was on a mission...and finished 3 minutes faster than her time last year), I was able to jump into 2nd place and hang on to the very end. I had another good friend lingering 15-30 seconds behind me the entire race so there was no letting off and I had to fight the entire way to the top.

Over the 2000+ft of climbing, I was able to better my time by over 1.5 minutes from 2011 and I couldn't have been happier! Unlike last year, I've been doing a bit of high altitude riding recently, so finishing at 11,150ft didn't seem to phase me nearly as much as before. Don't get me wrong, it was still hard to breath, but I was able to keep the power up until the very end instead of fading due to lack of oxygen.

One of the coolest parts of the day was seeing all the racers in the 'Adaptive' class as I was chugging up the hill in 'pain-cave' mode. There is no better way to get inspired while racing than watching handicapped athletes climb their way from 9,000ft to over 11,000ft using only their arms to crank themselves up the mountain. Since we were racing dirt bikes in Wyoming on Sunday, we had to quickly take off after the race and unfortunately miss lunch and the awards. I'm jazzed to have started off the series in 2nd and super excited about rockin' the Litespeed Cohutta 29er hardtail - I'm absolutely loving that bike :)

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