I had an awesome trip to Arizona and am feeling excited for the season and summer!
72 elite women lined up for the first cross country race of the US national series Sunday in Arizona. It was a hot day with temperatures in the mid 30’s or 96F. There was a bit of a headwind which actually cooled things down and added a little element to racing. I got off to a descent start, but could definitely feel last night’s maximal effort in my legs. I actually felt pretty gross the first 25 minutes of racing and was wondering how I was possibly going to finish 3 laps, but the longer I rode the better I felt and the stronger I was able to race. The first lap was spent trying to move through traffic without hitting a cactus or getting caught up in loose dirt. Willow and I started riding together by the end of lap 1, but then she faded and I was semi alone again until Mical charged up to me early-mid lap 2. She was able to gap me but by the end of that lap I was reeling her in and passed her where she had passed me the previous lap. Many positions were being traded back and forth. From 9-18th the race was really tight and with the open landscape you could see a number of different riders at any one point.
I tried my best to reel in more women, but had to be contented with 14th position in the end. It was a good, solid, consistent race for me and a good start to the season although I definitely plan to ride at the front at the next NMBS in Just under a month. Many of the American women seem to have over wintered really well and are perhaps entering the season with a bit higher form. 1min 7 seconds faster would have put me in the top 10 so that is definitely where I plan to be at the minimum.
I’m now on my way back to Kamloops where I’ll put in another solid couple weeks of training to prepare for my season. After 3.5 hrs sleep I'm at the airport. Actually fell asleep on my first flight before the plane took off so I'm now running on 5hrs and a cappuccino! I'm trying to figure out what I have to do in the next month to crack that top 5. Are the other girls just closer to summer form? I can't really pinpoint any outstanding weakness from the race...other than my continual battle to learn how to start better. Maybe I just need that critical training month.
Joele Guynup in her first Norba competed in the Sr Expert Stage race where she rode consitently in the top 6 through the TT, Super D and XC and finished 4th overall in the stage race. Rockin!
My other travel companions Mical and Matt put in solid rides, both finishing 16th on the gruelingly hot course.
The short track was a big disappointment for me. I started horribly, but was able to steadily work my way up – although the leaders would always remain out of touch. I was feeling good and stronger than the women I was catching, but then about 8-10 min in they pulled us! Argh. We could definitely have been given another 2 laps. So not only did I only get to do a very short race, but every woman who finished remotely near me was given a result ahead of me – okay so maybe it was 5 or 6 girls, but when your going for a series standing 19th is better than 25th. I wasn't there to contest results before awards – had to go get some grub - so i guess I'm outta luck. Ah well, at least I got in some high quality interval training.