Emily, Shannon and Catherine went to MTB Nationals in Granby, CO. It was a week mixed with emotion and saw each of them step on the podium once. They even came away with one stars and stripes jersey.
The week started with Emily's cross country race. She was lining up against the best junior women in the country and she was doing it at 9,000 ft. She raced a great race, trying to pace herself as best she could and finished a respectable 12th. I know she was a little bit bummed but she was the highest placed "sea level" rider.
Catherine was next and she rode an AMAZING race. Apparently altitude doesn't bother her (or she's really ready to race expert...). She rode away from the field and with a mile to go had the race won. Then catastrophe struck, she broke her chain!!! Catherine ran the last mile to finish a disappointing second place. Still a great result but a heart break at the same time.
Shannon's cross country race was a struggle from the start. She woke up with a miserable cold and abandoned the race half way through in hopes a salvaging something for the Super D on Sunday.
Super D was the last event of the weekend and the last chance for a jersey. Catherine was already on her way home but Shannon and Emily were hoping for that spot on the podium. Emily ROCKED. She demonstrated why she was the reigning Super D champion and won!!! Shannon took 4th in her race so both ladies ended their weekend with a podium appearance.
Congrats to all three of you; wish I'd have been there!!!
As a side note, I really hate it when they have something like Nationals somewhere where a certain group of riders have such a huge advantage. Altitude is debilitating for most sea level riders and takes us completely out of the race. In the Elite fields, riders that normally fight for the win were nowhere to be found but the high altitude racers were winning. It simply isn't fair. As bummed as I am that I missed out on the trip, I suck at altitude (years of trial and error have demonstrated this...) and I would have been frustrated at the wasted money. There are enough places to hold an event as important as Nationals that we shouldn't have it at 9,000 ft.
Okay, that is my rant. I'm done now.
Thanks for reading.