Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Race Weekend

This past weekend was a race weekend extravaganza at Northstar . . . ok, well not that dramatic, but it was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work with a case of the nerves mixed in.Practice run Live Wire Classic, Sunday Sept. 29, 2010: Taking it easy, testing out the legs.
Friday evening was the Super D -- the race started with a nice fat stretch of lung & leg burning pedaling, ugh. The Le Mans start had me in second place when we hit the twisty, pedally single track. The lead girl was a xc racer who admonished the rest of the girls before the race to "hold back at the start to save some for the end." Then she took off like a shot, hahaha. Nice. Unfortunately none of us were ever able to catch that tricky girl. I was still holding second when I arrived at the fun downhill part of the course, the upper section of Karpiel. Karpiel is a double-black diamond that I had never ridden before, especially not on the Nomad. However, once I got over my intimidation it turned out to be the most fun section of the course (can't wait to ride it again. I'll wait until I get my DH bike to ride the lower section which is much nastier with steep rock gardens and drops and such). The dirt was loose and there was a bit of sliding around but all-in-all the course was in good condition. From Karpiel we hit a section of Pho-Dogg I had never ridden before -- fun also! Then on to twisy, rocky, flatish Woods - technical, tough and challenging, finishing on fast, smooth Deer Path (back to rocky, twisty a bit at the end on Lift Line -- one of my favorites). Having a blast and pushing it as much as I could I came in 1st in Sport class and was thrilled!
Live Wire Classic, Race photo
After resting up a bit on Saturday, Sunday came and the big Live Wire race was on! I learned something comparing these two races 1) Don't put too much pressure on a race, the nerves will break my concentration 2) I need a little alone time before a race to get inside my head. [Friday I had no expectations and about two hours alone before the race to get warmed up and in the right space]. I felt pretty good during my race run, but definitely made a few mistakes which cost me valuable seconds and I definitely could have pushed a little harder -- although, after comparing notes, you feel like you're spent at times on the course. The track could not have been in more perfect condition! A nice rain the night before left the course super tacky but not muddy at all. It was bliss. It was quite chilly waiting almost two hours at the top for our start time (too much time to get the nerves going and too many people to find any time inside your head). Even though I wish I could have raced a little faster and gotten about 15 seconds better time, I have to say - wow! it was fun. I love riding Live Wire -- and next year there is another race and I can correct the mistakes I felt I made this race (not enough speed into the jumps, faster in the corners, keep LOW the whole time). Next year I will also have a dedicated DH bike which will help out considerably. Until then my awesome Nomad got me through two races this weekend with a 1st & 4th place. I even got new tires put on her just for the weekend -- Minions -- and as Mike at ABW says, "Minion's are the shit!!!" I quote. I also agree.

The thing I also enjoyed about this race weekend was not just the riding and the pushing and challenging myself to bigger and better things, but the atmosphere. No other sport I have been involved in before has the camaraderie been so fantastic. Everyone is happy on a bike and the women in the sport reach out to each other. It is amazing. I made more new friends this weekend and they are fun, super-chill women. Just the kind I like to hang with. And I admire them for how they push themselves. Monday, I was tired, I could barely get out of bed . . . and it was so worth it! We'll be racing again in a few weeks - the final in the Super D series and maybe even the Boondocks DH race on a borrowed bike. We'll see . . . I'll keep you posted.
p.s. - Tina was unable to race the Super D and came in 2nd in Live Wire. Woot, woot. Go Tina!
Marianne is kicking ass developing a strong leadership presence with NorCal and the Placer Foothill Mountain Bike Club. Very impressive ladies, very impressive!

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