Photo: Tyler Frasca
This past weekend was my first mountain bike race of 2013 at the Bonelli ProXCT. As always, no matter how hard I have been training, there's always a big question mark placed by the first race of the season. Do I have fitness? Will I be able to make the lead group? Will my legs feel fresh or like lead? I knew this race was even more of a gamble since I had only been riding my bike for ten days and I was fresh off the skis. Tyler, my team manager, said that he would have ski poles in the tech zone to make me feel like home. I really appreciated that.
Racing in the Short Track withe my new national champion jersey
Checking out the bike with one of the best mechanics out there, Joe Deverra
The weekend of racing gave me all positive answers to all of the questions looming overhead. I am completely happy with my performance, and I was even more thrilled with my new bikes and equipment. My new Epic and Fate are beautiful, and I have SRAM's new XX1 on both race bikes. There is just one chainring up front and eleven cogs in the back. It's quite different riding without a front derailuer. I keep reaching down to shift out of my big ring and nothing is there. I absolutely love the simplicity of it. I'm a believer after racing with it this weekend. I rode the fast track tires front and rear for the loose and rocky cross country and switched to a renegade on the rear for the short track. I ran twenty psi in the front and twenty two in the rear.
In the cross country, the Luna squad was noticeably missing from the starting line, but the new Trek team was there in full force. Fellow Olympians Emily Batty and Annie Last were present so I knew this would be a great test for the legs. I didn't know that the two time Xterra World Champion, Leslie Paterson, was hiding in the back of the pack. Emily, Annie, and I rode together for the first two laps, and I was relieved that my legs remembered how to move in circles. On the third lap, a mysterious rider with strong looking legs bridged up to our group and notched up the pace considerably. I started to put the pieces of this puzzle together when I saw the world champion rainbow stripes on her jersey. Annie was popped of the group, and I was hanging on. I yo-yoed with the lead group for a lap and then I rode alone to the finish line to third place. It was a solid race. The short track was a tactical battle with a large lead group. There were some attacks and some new faces up front which is always great to see. On the final short track lap, I attacked to be the first to the top of the course's only climb. It turns out Emily and Chloe had the same idea and we all arrived at the top together. Then, my front wheel washed out on some very loose corners, and I was out of the race. I was bummed because I really wanted to sprint with those girls to the finish line and give my new national champion jersey a run for the money. But I'll get many more opportunities to race this season. Now, jojo and I are back in Santa Cruz and enjoyed ten days in one location. We may even get to surf.
Team Specialized celebrated a pair of 3rd place finishes by having sushi off of a moving walkway