First of all, I have to give Angel Fire Bike Park props for their cross country course. It is crazy awesome! Take a sweet course and throw in 6 inches of snow two days ago and you end up with mud, mud and more mud! The course had a 3ish mile ascent with about 2000 ft of elevation gain and an awesome 2ish miles of perfect single-track. Hopefully I can get some pictures of the course itself tomorrow.
The Division II women’s start was at 9:10am with a temp of 29 degrees! Brrr! But the cold really hasn’t been a problem for me yet. I’m prepared and mentally ready for it. The mud on the other hand… There were 25 starters.
So, ’bout the race! It was really muddy and we had to walk a lot of the ascent. I feel like I do okay riding in mud, but got behind some girls who just kept walking. I was able to ride a lot more of my second lap since I was by myself and able to chug along in granny gear. I felt the altitude once I got about a third of the way up, I’m guessing about 8,700 feet. Overall, it wasn’t bad. There were a few times on each lap that I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. But I got through it! I didn’t know how hard it was going to be eating at altitude though! It’s hard to eat anyway…this was crazy! It took me so long to get a gel down! But man, I needed those kicks of caffeine and sugar!
The descent was amazing! It was my kind of trail…smooth, fast single track with awesome banked turns and fast straight sections. The first run down was a little sketchy since it was still pretty icy, but by the time I got to it for the second time it was nice and muddy.
I ended up 21 out of 24 finishers Not too bad for my first year of racing/first nationals. Already thinking about my goals for next year though…. I’m thinking top ten baby!
Angel Fire is amazing! It’s absolutely beautiful here! I love my mountains, but they’ve got nothing on these babies in the snow! The incredible nature was a nice refresher when I was dying up some of those icy switchbacks.
I’ll definitely be back here sometime when it’s a little warmer to ride these trails a little more leisurely.