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This past weekend I had the honor of joining my team mates out in the infamous Southridge dirt. This was my third race in Shimano Winter Series and my first time racing this series. If you keep up with the site you may know that this by far is my least favorite trail, so it took a lot of nerve to decide on racing a whole series out there! In retrospect I am glad that I did, and I have surely come a long way…
Let me debrief you on my first experience out there…. April 2007. I freaked out and couldn’t get past 3 miles on that trail. It was the big boulders and exposure that did me in. Those big scary hills sent me home in tears – I cried like a girl. I didn’t revisit that trail until about a year later in May of 08! Yep – that’s how traumatized I was! If you told me then that I would be racing there someday I would have bet money against it!
Lucky for me I have a pushy riding partner – that Pesky RL and some VERY patient riding buddies. RL has a way of pushing me outside of my comfort zone like no other. This series has been quite a learning experience for myself. First off, let me just say who’s idea was it to start a race series RIGHT after the holidays?!!?!? I don’t know about you, but I surely wasn’t training anything but my taste buds over the holiday season! Now that I got that off my chest..lets move on….
I feel like I have been riding nothing but Fontana since January! My first race was Jan 24th and I have spent just about every weekend out there since! I wanted to keel over after that first race. It was tough and I was in no racing shape. I finished really discouraged because of how slow I felt and how difficult parts of the trail still were for me.
It was sobering but motivating at the same time. There’s nothing like a little failure to keep you on your toes!!! lol. I just have to work a little harder then some, and that’s okay with me as long as it will get the job done. So the next couple of weeks were spent helping me with some technical portions. RL and David took some time out to help me get through some obstacles and it really made all the difference. The 2nd race wasn’t as bad. I came in less than a minute behind the rider ahead of me so I felt great about that. The best part was I that I was able to ride through some of those parts that I previously had to walk.
RL picking up my trophy for me ..lol
So this past weekend was the halfway point in this series. I’ll try to keep this short since you know how I can ramble on forever. First off, I must thank Tony for providing me with brakes 20 min prior to the race. It is good to have the ability to stop out on the trail. He did try to convince me otherwise saying that I would go faster without brakes but I actually would like to keep my cute little face in tact and body parts in place. Lucky for me he keeps stuff like this [brakes] stashed – he’s like the James Bond of mountain biking or something. lol. RL slapped those bad boys on in no time and I was ready to roll. It’s good to have friends.
The race itself wasn’t too bad. I always get my butt kicked on the first climb to the tower but I am happy to report no injuries. I can’t say the same for the girl who rode on ahead of me though. Poor thing went face first into a boulder at a switchback. By the time I rode up she was resting with lots of blood on her face. I couldn’t find it in myself to just leave her there so I asked if she was ok..and helped flag down one of the orange vest guys to help her out. She prompted me and another guy to continue on. Once I saw him walking over (I think Tony directed him too), I wished her quick healing and rode on. I looked for her after the race but couldn’t find her. I heard she had a nasty cut under her chin from the crash.
Photo courtesy of Joe
At that point I was pretty far behind the crowd of racers and I came to peace with just finishing the race with a good attitude. And so that’s what I did. I was happy to make it through those technical portions that I previously practiced with the boys and I put a lot of thought into smiling for my pictures out there on the course. It’s hard to hold that smile when you are grinding through those climbs! lol. I finished around 5 min after 1st place. Not too bad but motivation to do better next time.
Thanks to Kim for pickin up my trophy and making me look good. RL and I had to rush out because we have been helping our friends look for their lost Niece these last couple of Saturdays after the races.
Good times were had by all that day. Super proud of my amigos. These boys and girl tear it up out there. I am encouraged by the leaps and bounds I have made since 2007 but I can’t wait until I am good enough to race down hill!!! lol. I can’t forget a shot out to our sponsors of course – Evomo Clothing, Ergon, Hoss MTB and I’d also like to thank KHS for providing me the frame to race with.
Photo courtesy of Monique Spaulding