It's HOT. The season has been long and we are all a bit tired. With all that being said, our local supporting club, Scenic City Velo, was hosting a mountain bike race this weekend at one of our state parks. Shannon, Gina and I were planning to go out and represent for the team. Jamie is still out West and Paula kicked butt the day before at the Fools Gold 50 in GA. (check out her race report)
In spite of my dread of the heat (we've been hitting record highs all week...not ideal temperatures for bike racing), I was excited to race in front of the hometown crowd. It's funny, I rarely get nervous about races; I've learned over the years that there is always "another race" and "everyone has good days and bad days" so the nerves are usually just not there. Don't get me wrong, I race to win; but I love racing my bike so regardless, I am doing what I love. I couldn't even sleep the night before the race. What is wrong with me?? I think I am nervous!! Why??!! I haven't raced a mountain bike in front of a hometown crowd in a number of years and I WANTED to win. Really. These are the people that hear of our travels and help support us, I wanted to give back.
The start time got pushed back by an hour so I was warmed up and cooled down again by the time we went. It was a pavement climb for the start and my legs were not happy. Hmmm... I'll just make them go. I was third up the pavement and quickly took the lead before we dove into the trail. EVERYONE was cheering for Shannon and I. I put my head down and went harder. Wow it's HOT. I looked back after the first 5 minutes and there was NOBODY behind me. Good sign.... pedal harder. By the second lap I was passing some of the men that had started in front of us. I KNOW this trail and it was really helping. Two hours and four minutes later a rolled across the finish line victorious. I WON! Not only did I win, I won by 14 minutes. Shannon took 3rd after her asthma gave her some fits for two of her four laps. She dug hard on the last lap and really showed why she's a pro. It's tough to finish a miserable race when you are feeling poorly. Good job Shannon.
As a special treat, Gina lined up on the dirt in a Vantaggio/Specialized team kit. It took some convincing ("But I am a road racer, I'll embarrass you guys... I can't wear the team jersey on the mountain bike...") we got her into the team kit and on the starting line of the sport race. She was riding in a CLOSE second place all day. Near the end of the race her chain dropped behind her cassette and she lost a few minutes and one place while fixing it. Third place is still not too shabby for our roadie's dirt debut in the team kit. Great job Gina, it was fun to have you out there.
Thanks to SCV for putting on a great race. The volunteers they had and the support we got was unrivaled this year. You guys are great! Even with the heat it will be remembered as one of my favorite events this year.
Thanks for reading...