Editorial by David Sanderson
Team racer extraordinaire Kim Finch qualified for Nationals this year, so a support squad formed and we were off to beautiful Colorado! I’ll let Kim re-tell the story from here…
I finally qualified for the US Cycling Nationals, to be held at Sol Vista Bike Park in Granby, Colorado! I was so excited when I got that email! This was what I had been working towards all season! We make our arrangements and before you know we are off to the airport! With entourage & Ellsworth Truth in tow we are off. Want to know how special I felt? Well, I have my person bike technician, Tony, personal engineer, David & my personal photographer, Tim! Now how lucky can one girl get! We arrive in Denver, CO obtain our car and head out!
We are all starving so we find what appears to be the hot little local restaurant, called Jack & Grill. It was very good! Then off to the venue! With all my copilots fallen asleep, but it was okay, there was just awesome scenery everywhere! We headed straight to venue for check in & to get a the overview of the event. All the usual vendors were there to help as needed. Saw several SRC racers and chatted with some DH pro ladies that I knew! We hit the condo, checked in & Tony got right to putting my bike together! We enjoyed hanging out that evening. Elevation was approximately 8,200 feet.
Up early Friday morning for breakfast and off to the venue. The guys rented some nice DH bikes and went off to play. I rode in the hills to adjust to the elevation and found a very fun little single track that I kept playing on and a couple good little hill climbs to warm up! We rejoined for lunch as race time was @ 3:00pm. The weather was perfect, on the high 70’s. Just prior to start time some cloud cover rolled in which made it even nicer! “Racers to staging!” I hear the announcement and I am off to the start line.
My crew also takes a break to cheer me on @ the start. I have four women in my group & come to find out they live in areas that are at least 7,000ft elevation. For the first line is a very large very steep climb on the fire road. I live through the climb wondering when there would be an oxygen stand! Then a left turn pass the 4X stating line and I hear Brittney from SRC yelling for me! After a bit more fire road, the climb cuts into the trees! From this point I am completely thrilled that is was going to be a nice mix. Into the trees, I should say FOREST, with a technical climbing of single track up over rock gardens, roots and some soft dirt areas. Then hit a bit of a fire road which gave me a chance to recover. I seem to be breathing somewhat normal by now, I was surprised!
Then back into the forest for more single track! I passed several women and a few men along the way! I was having some much fun at one point I forgot this was a race! Half way through the course we merge again with the main course and then I have the advance men passing, but everyone was very cool! The one main obstacle was coming in fast on a a downhill single track that there seemed to be a lot of spectators at. Once I saw it I understood why everyone was watching there..it was carnage! As I came around this steep rutted corner one of the photo guys yelled out about the rut. I of course gave my thoughts on this rut as soon as I saw it and the photographer thought my comment was hilarious! Once I made it to the turn and rut, I thought it faster to slide down this carnage drop of silt then to tumble OTB! This is just what I did, of course at that very moment I watch two men come down, one came down on wheels and the other came down..well lets say a little different! I hop back on & hit the single track! This single track is full of banking turns and sweeping corners! This is my favorite part! This is why I torture myself on those climbs!
About 2-3 miles to go & I hear the guys cheering me on and they are all taking photos! I was excited! I had no crashes and everything was working perfect! Through another bunch of trees and I can see the finish area. I hit it with all that I had left! I crossed the finish line and I had done it! I didn’t even care where I placed I came to Nationals & completed without a single problem!
Times got posted really late, but I came in 2nd place, 20minutes behind first! I cleaned the other two riders by a least 27 minutes and when checking times later I beat the times of all the ladies in 30-39 CAT3 and even a couple in 20-29 CAT3, so needless to say I was thrilled! Funny thing is that I was not tired, I felt I could ride a bit more. That would be related to continued use of “Sport Legs‘! I did get to play on the DH trail with the guys on Saturday and I tell you this is a place that has to go down on the “MUST RIDE AGAIN” list of places to ride! Well, that’s all for now! We’ll see you at the races! Thanks to all of our sponsors!