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From the Champ herself, Kim Finch talks about her race experience from the Shimano Winter Series #4
There was not much time for training for this race with all the rain, but I did manage to get a couple rides in. I mostly focused on injury recovery from a prior race. We got in early Saturday for the XC race. I chatted with everyone while setting up. As always Tony checked over my bike and tires before he headed for his practice DH run! Couple quick spins around the parking lot and it is up to starting line. While we were waiting to start, I chatted with Priscilla and the rest of the women in our category. The mass start is off with all the Beginner riders; I pull ahead of a few men to stay in eye contact with my competition. We are all off to the climbs and then the asphalt road and I seem to be ahead. I pass a couple of ladies in the 34 & under group and am feeling pretty proud of myself. The newly cut section is part of a prior Super D course and I was at first disappointed thinking they took out my favorite single track section but they added a climb back up to my beloved single track section.
I was surprised to see the amount of riders, mostly guys that were hiking up this section. I pedaled my way up and hit the single track! The race had some stiff competition with Natalie, which was the other lady in my group. We were neck in neck the whole course. The rain had made a lot of changes on the trail with many ruts. I & my competitor had a small crash at the end of the final single track, which by the way I have never crashed there before. This gave her a slight push ahead of me and I could see her increasing the gap as another two riders crashed where we had just cleared. I jump on my bike and realize my brakes are in the wrong place, quick spin of the bars and I am off again.
I stand up and pump out every pedal stroke with all the energy I have left in hopes to catch her! She is in my sight, along the fence line and then she rounds the corner, one hill left and it is the rocky climb I see her jump off her bike to run up the hill. I was stoked because I can make this climb and pass her. I yell “Rider Up” but she is still on the line I would like to take, so I go around her. I make 3/4 of the climb and stopped dead by a rock, I jump off and run up the hill! Remount the bike and it is a sprint to the finish line! We are rounding the final corners, down the double arrows, which by the way I had no time to pick a clean line and should have crashed flying down it. We hit the final turns to the finish and there is our Team, RL yelling at me, “She’s right behind you”..like I was not aware..Then THE FINISH!! I WON!! Times posted and it was 2 seconds!! What a GREAT RACE!! I was spent.
Quick change of clothes and bikes and I head up the hill for DH practice! I was very glad to see the DH course was mostly off camber turns and no real technical spots! Was designed for me! One run was all I had left in me! Race day Sunday get in one practice run and feel pretty good! Relaxed with the team and up to the top of the hill to “WAIT.” We had a great time cheering for all of the riders as they started their races.
Finally our turn, I told myself that it was MY course and it was just like the San Juan Trail. Getting over the countdown jitters and off I go! I can hear RL cheering, “Go Kimmie! Go get em’!” I rode through the course and I was having a blast! I reminded myself, during the “G” outs, maintain speed so not to over shoot the corners. It went great! Got to the lower rock garden, found MY line and cleaned it just as I planed!
Got the famous wall and legs were spent. I could hear the cheers of teammates in the lower rock garden and the famous words “PEDAL” “GET UP & PEDAL” so I gave it the last that I had! I never checked the times but was so excited and exhausted I just knew it was good!!
Thanks as always to the entire A-TEAM for their support! Thanks to Tony for always making sure my bikes are ready for BATTLE! Special thanks to all of our sponsors! Evomo, Ergon, Hoss MTB and BikeCommuters.com