Two weeks after Nationals, it was time to get back up on the proverbial horse and get into race mode. I was looking forward to the Colorado Crankworx race for a few reasons. First, it was a part of the Winter Park race series and I really like those race courses. They are relatively technical, usually feature some pretty impressive elevation gain, and have some super fun downhill sections. Also, the past two years I have been fortunate to podium which means walking away with a giant check. I mean literally, a large cardboard check. The monetary amount isn’t that impressive (100$), but there’s something about a 4 foot check that makes you feel like a winner. This year’s race delivered on all accounts and while the check wasn’t as physically large, the trophy did incorporate a real-life hatchet.
The following weekend I decided to head up to Snowmass to race in the MSC cross country race and visit with my good friends who live up there. Snowmass was one of my very first races that I did as an Expert. It was also one of my first races as a Pro. For years, I have hated this course. It’s usually hot and very dusty. It’s technical in spots where you’re at your most fatigued, and the downhill highlights my weaknesses. Surprisingly, I had a great race here last year. And, actually had a lot of fun on the course this year! This race highlights how much I’ve grown as a mountain biker through the past two years. I enjoyed the course thoroughly, noticed how amazing the views were, and dominated (for me) the downhills. I sort of forgot I was racing! I was happy to get second to Judy Freemen, who was just named to the World Championships team.
The last weekend in August marked my last race(s) of the season. I had decided on a whim back in April that I wanted to do an Xterra triathlon this year. I picked the Xterra Lory which was at Horsetooth reservoir in Ft. Collins. My training for the triathlon started approximately 3 weeks before the race and consisted of swimming twice a week, doing some trail runs throughout the week, and practicing one brick workout (bike ride immediately into a run). Race morning was an early one as I met Sara Tarkington, a successful Xterra and Mtn bike pro, to head up to the race at 5 am. I tried to channel my triathlete roots (yes, I am a recovering triathlete who was actually pretty serious about it throughout college). I set up my transition area, went for a jog to warm up, and then tried to squeeze myself into my old wetsuit (still fits!). The swim actually went pretty well. I didn’t get too off course and wasn’t the last person out of the water. My transition from swim to bike didn’t go as well-it took me forever to get out of my wetsuit, put my shoes and helmet on, and then finally wheel my bike out onto the course. The bike section was a bit of a disappointment. The course was mostly flat, not very technical, and difficult to pass people on. I was hoping for something more challenging, but what the bike course lacked-the running course made up for.! The run course incorporated lots of steep-ish climbing, lots of rocky sections, and unfortunately not enough water! It was pretty hot by the time I was running and I was really wishing I had a bottle of water or something. I slowed down a lot after the first mile, and sadly got passed by two women. I was super excited when my Tokyo Joes team mate, KT, caught up to me on the run (she was racing as part of a 3 person team). I just tried to stay up with her as best I could and before I knew it we were sliding down the slip and slide and posing for a finishing pic. I ended up getting 5th overall for women, and I won my 22 person age group. Quite a few 30-34 year old women out there which was cool to see!
All and all I had a good time. I’d definitely like to do some more Xterra’s-ideally with more challenging bike courses since I’m not a swimmer or a runner and need more of an advantage;)