This past weekend was round three of the Epic Singletrack MTB Series in Winter Park. This 23 mile course is a point to point going from the Ski Resort out to Fraser (right by our condo)! It's definitely one of my favorite races of the series as well.
I felt absolutely terrible during my warm up which was a bit weird but figured I was probably just drained from the hot weather that week. With CX being the main focus of my season, I've been going into the mountain races extremely relaxed with little to no expectation so I wasn't too concerned. My ultimate goal for this race was to nail my nutrition no matter what and go from there.
The race began as usual on a 10 percent fire road that goes for a mile until you hit the singletrack. I definitely didn't have the punch I normally do and found myself entering the trails behind several unusual faces. It was tough, but I made my way through the masses and eventually established my place and was able to rip the final part of the first descent at my pace.
At the bottom of that descent is where things began to go awry! Since we race on the slopes of a ski mountain, the trail is either straight up or straight down...very little, if any, in flat terrain. After the descent, we made a sharp turn onto a steep and very rooty climb that I have done hundreds of times. However, this time I didn't have anything in my legs to turn over the pedals. It was like my body had just shut off. I dabbed on one of the roots and had to walk my bike...that has NEVER happened on this particular section of trail. It was only 30min into a 2hr race and I honestly felt like I had just finished a race and completely emptied the tank. The girls I had passed on the descent were starting to pick me off one by one. I rarely DNF a race but I honestly wasn't certain I could make it to the finish and seriously considered pulling out. At the top of the climb, I soft pedaled to the next descent which eventually dumped out to another fire road climb. Per my original plan, I got my nutrition down and within minutes I was a new person. I don't know if I just needed fuel or the mental aspect of accomplishing my one goal set in, but either way, I was now on a mission. I could see my power numbers sky rocketing (from my Stages Power Meter), and I could see a bunch of girls in the distance. My motivation was higher than ever and now it was my turn to pick off the ladies in front of me one by one. I caught up with my good friend Amy Dombrowski who was sitting in 2nd place about 3 miles from the finish. I tried my best to get around her but I just couldn't match her pop through the rocky, false flat terrain.
I crossed the line in 3rd place and couldn't believe I actually pulled off the race I did. I also beat my time from 2011 by a whopping 10 minutes! A huge lesson was learned today...NEVER GIVE UP! My coach always tell us that you don't have to feel good to go fast and today I got to experience that. Huge congrats to Tammy for her first Pro win and hats off to Amy who has been racing and training like a mad woman in preparation for her CX season with Telnet over in Europe.
Bryce also had a phenomenal race! Now that he has increased his training hours by 500% with his daily commute to work, I think he's going to see some huge improvements in his racing.
We also talked about how we truly believe our gluten and dairy free lifestyle has made a significant impact on our overall energy levels and recovery times. Congrats on your 3rd place hunny!
Since I'm still waiting on my DH fork to arrive, I went out with my usual WP posse for a long/fun ride on the trails. The conditions were perfect and the company was outstanding. I got a good idea of how tough the next race's course is so that was nice as well. Another amazing weekend in the books!