I can’t believe race season has started! Last weekend’s Mellow Johnny’s ProXCT kicked things off in a big way. Not only were all the American Olympic hopefuls in attendance, but there were top athletes from Canada, Mexico, and South Africa racing as well. Historically, I haven’t done many of the national series races. Taking the time off of work, not to mention paying for travel, made it difficult to justify. This year I’m getting a little extra help from Tokyo Joes (yay! Thank You!!) and Austin, Texas is a relatively easy destination to get to. So, I packed up my bike and headed to Hill Country.

 I falsely assumed that race conditions would be similar to other mostly arid destinations, with sand being the primary track surface. In fact, the course was really rocky with tight singletrack and a few shallow stream crossings even. I brought my sweet Superfly Pro, confident that it would be perfect for the assumed course. In hindsight, the Superfly 100 Pro would have been my much preferred steed to handle the rocky, technical course. Anyway, here’s how the race went down:

I got a middle of the pack call up and positioned myself behind Georgia which I knew was going to be a good spot.  As I’m standing there at the start it occurred to me that I hadn’t really scoped out the start loop and was not familiar with where the best lines might be. Whoops, probably should have done that. Ultimately, I wasted my nice start position with a horribly slow start as I struggled to get clipped in. Rookie!! I did manage to get by a crash and was working on passing as many people as I could before we got onto the narrow singletrack. I successfully passed 0 (zero) people.  Hmmm, so much for that strategy. At the end of the first lap, I had managed to pass 2 people and landed in no-mans land where I remained for the rest of the race. It was a super tough course to be by yourself on-with no significant elevation gain or loss, it was easy to settle into a ‘safe’ pace with minimal pedaling required. So, I stayed comfortably on the gas, clearing all the technical features, and trying to push the uphills as hard as I could in an effort to catch a glimpse of anyone in front of me. I never did catch site of anyone, and finished in 17th.  Not a spectacular performance by any means, but I’ll take it. It is March after all. Plus, I felt strong and my skills weren’t as rusty as they could have been after only 2 mtn bike rides in over 2 months. The first race of the season is always a bit of a wake up for my legs and my head.

After a few days at home, I’m getting ready for the 2nd ProXCT race in Bonelli this weekend. My legs are feeling good and I’m ready to get my head in the game!