Yep, that is me in 1st, another mom named Emily in 2nd and Evy in 3rd. I went to Sol Survivor today, met some great mountain biking gals, and won my age group in the Cat 2 (Sport) class. I toyed with racing Cat 1, but I wasn’t allowed to with a 1-day permit, so Cat 2 it was. It was a little weird to pack for just one sport, show up for the race 2.5 hours early and then remember that only triathletes do that, only bring one water bottle (no Camelbak) and only race for 1 hour and 14 minutes!
The race started with a brutally steep, ridiculous climb, straight out of the starting gate. I did a very thorough warm-up so I was prepared to hang on for dear life here (NOT one of my strengths). We lined up at the start, going wave by wave, and when it was the women’s turn they took roll to make sure we were all there. We all chatted a bit before the start and introduced ourselves. Once the whistle was blown, it was all business, and I was riding in about 6th of 8 or 9 women up the steep climb.
I knew that I would catch up though, and I did. I had to really push it on all the climbs at the beginning of the course to assert myself as a contender. In competitive mountain biking, it can quickly turn to head games – ride someone’s wheel long enough, and they start to think you are stronger than they are (even though you may not be).
I used this tactic to my advantage, and about halfway though the race I found myself in the lead for my age group, with 3 other ladies ahead of me.
The real fun was the last part of the course – the downhill. We ended up on the Super D course to finish, and it was gnarly. Here I passed one more lady in front of me on a technical tight spot, and I started getting really excited. I came to this crazy steep drop section with paramedics standing at the ready (okay, that is always nerve-wracking) and they were egging me on in a very encouraging way. Not long after, I saw Wes and Abi and got the most excited cheering ever – and Wes told me the overall Cat 2 leader was only 2 minutes ahead! Unfortunately, I had only about 1/2 mile to the finish, so the 2 minute gap remained.
The riding at Sol Vista is incredible. I highly recommend it, and Wes and I have decided that if we ever get to do a one-night getaway as a couple, this is high on the list of potential places to go. Lots of fresh, rocky, twisty, FUN singletrack to be had! The scenery with the changing Aspens and sweeping mountain vistas was just perfect.
I do have a beef with USCF after my switch to triathlon – why are the women’s courses shorter? Really? For the same category, the men raced 15 miles and we raced 9. Yeah, 9 miles. Um, c’mon. When USCF puts on marathon-length races, they are the same length for men and women. I’d vote for equal opportunities for the ladies to shine. The women I raced against today have been doing this whole series of Mountain States Cup races, and they are completely amazing riders. Great technical riders, great tacticians, and strong as heck. They deserve equal footing.
So anyway, I was the 3rd overall Cat 2 woman, missing 1st by 2 minutes. The 2 ladies in front of me were 40+ and 50+ and I think they totally rocked! We all waited for each other at the finish line until nearly the whole women’s field finished, just chatting and talking about the different technical sections of the course. I miss mountain bike racing. It was a great experience and a great confidence-booster. Wes was a rock star again, watching Abi and putting up with all the fun a 2-year old can dish out. One of the other ladies told him he was “husband of the year” – I agree, maybe even husband of the century. Definitely the best one I never even dared to dream up.