All I can say is wow. Talk about a different experience from B’s! However, I know exactly what I need to focus on for our next race at Lees-McRae…. super speed!
The Mars Hill race took place at Alexander Mountain Bike Park in Buncombe County. I’d gotten to ride out there a couple days before our race this past weekend and absolutely loved the trails. I knew that it was going to make for an intense race since there are several climbs and a few tricky rock sections (like fall off the hill and die if you fail sections. No pressure!). I love what the park offers, especially the 4x course, I cannot wait to play on that baby!
Saturday and Sunday ended up with temps in the 40’s, with the added bonus of wind coming right off the French Broad River across the road. Needless to say, I wasn’t really prepared for how cold it was! Warming up was not fun, I felt like I was dying it was so cold!
The short track course was short and super fast after a short climb up the hill and onto the single track. Everyone kept getting bottle-necked at the trailhead, so I knew I needed to get there and through as soon as possible. Unfortunately one of the girls in front of me wrecked right off the start, causing a huge pile-up which I just couldn’t avoid. That was a bummer and threw me off for the actual entrance into the woods. Have I mentioned how fast A’s are? It’s crazy! I got pulled a couple laps in, ending up in 17 out of 20. A completely different result from GA! Even getting pulled so soon, I was wiped out.
On Sunday I felt better and more prepared. It was a little warmer and I was actually clothed properly for the cold. Once again we started up a hill. I lost several places on the start but was doing okay when we went into the woods for the first loop. Now I love this loop so I was trying to enjoy it and have fun while doing my best to race hard. By the time I got out of the first loop and into the second, I knew I was in last place and was just concentrating on holding on and keeping on going. The second loop (second lap) was mentally challenging. I think one of my biggest weaknesses is the mental aspect of getting through the hurt and challenges. I was almost ready to call it quits at the end of that lap, but I’m not going to quit. I may finish last, but I will not quit. I knew I would end up getting lapped on my third lap (A’s raced 4 laps total at the MHC race), but my mindset was so much better. It just might have had something to do with Coach Hugh making me eat a Raw bar. I did not want it, but after the fact I felt a ton better. I also realized that it didn’t matter if I raced 3 or 4 laps, I could make it and would not die. So I kept on, and eventually made it back to the finish, where I was pulled for 15th place. Last place, but I didn’t quit despite being oh so tempted a couple times.
Overall, it was a good experience despite my less than awesome performance. I know what to expect, overcame a mental challenge, and am refocused on my training!
Next we go to conference at Lees-McRae, followed by nationals at AngelFire in New Mexico. Both races are going to amazing, and I can’t wait!