I have to admit, I hadn't been feeling exceptionally well on the bicycle until this past week. I haven't been able to hit good power numbers and just couldn't quite recover from the super hard workouts. After a good chat with the coach, we changed a few things around so that my hard interval day wouldn't be the morning before the weekly Wednesday evening short track races. Even though it means I miss out on the group session, there is so much more benefit for me to be rested and treat the 25min short track as a race rather than a survival ride. I tried out the Tuesday intervals then the Wednesday STXC for the first time last week and was pleasantly surprised. It was almost 100 degrees at 6:40pm when it started but I was still able to put down the hammer and ride strong in 3rd behind two rockstar racers.
After a rest day and massage, Bryce and I headed to Winter Park on Thursday night. We did a fun shakeout ride with our friend Keith on Friday and learned some sweet new trails on the other side of the mountain. Saturday was a cool and relaxed morning before we headed to the start of the WP XC Super Loop MTB Race. The 18ish mile course had it's fair share of climbing but also some tight/twisty/technical singletrack that is so freaking fun :)
As usual, the race started on a 10% grade service road that goes for about a mile until it hits the trail. If you want first dibs on a clean descent, your only choice is to attack the start and lay it all on the line. I knew there was no way I was beating Erin Huck to the entrance but I didn't want too many others in between. Luckily I hit the singletrack in third, right behind my good friend and great bike handler, Cait Vestal. For the next 30 or so minutes, I relaxed and let myself recover from the hard effort up the first climb. I rode smart and steady and eventually ended up catching Cait up the final big climb. I couldn't believe how good I felt and how low my heart rate was. I'm used to seeing mid to high 180s during 1.5-2hr MTB races and I was barely hitting 170 but still putting out great power (even at 10,000ft). Other than my nutrition, or lack there of, I was ecstatic about my race. I was almost 3 minutes faster than last year which gives me confidence that my fitness is coming back. I'm doing everything in my nature to keep my body healthy and the Epstein Barr Virus AWAY so that I can continue to gain speed and strength for the CX season.
After the race, my little brother and his puppy met up with us after a long drive from Salt Lake City. He will be spending the first part of the week at our place doing lots of mountain biking with his buddies. Then his girlfriend and my parents will be arriving on Wednesday to spend the long weekend with us! Yay...happy days :)