It seemed like we were home for less than a day, before Ari and I packed up again and headed back to the mountains for another race. This time we were headed to Vail for the Teva Mountain Games. I love this event. You’ve got world class climbers, kayakers, SUP paddlers, runners, excited dogs going for distance in the dock-jumping competitions, AND mountain bikers and road cyclists. I did the cross-country race on Saturday and the road hill-climb time trial on Sunday. Saturday I felt pretty good and was content with my 6th place finish. That’s the best I’ve ever finished at Teva, so I was happy about that. Mostly I was pumped to be racing with my friend Jen Gersbach again after racing with her in Durango the weekend before. We were going back and forth for most of the race, but I think she had the advantage as she’s from Vail and had her full fan club out cheering for her?. Just kidding. Actually, I looked down at my watch for a second during the last lap and when I looked up she was gone. She must’ve kicked on her turbo-boosters!
Sunday my legs were lethargic and cranky, but I was determined to make them cooperate. I made sure to get in a good warm up, and I was eager to put my fancy time-trial helmet and clip-on aerobars to good use! I was starting in the middle of a group of girls that I didn’t really know, with Kellie Emmett starting a few minutes ahead of me and Georgia Gould starting a few minutes behind me. Last year Kelli flew by me like I was standing still, so I tried to use that memory as motivational fuel when the legs started to burn on the way up to Vail Pass. I was mentally chanting to myself “up, over, down, pull” to make sure that each pedal stroke was as strong and smooth as possible. When I got to the top, I was pretty spent and felt good about my burning legs and lungs. There’s something about putting 100% into an effort, knowing that you burnt all the matches you had that day, that is so fulfilling. It’s what I really love about being an athlete.
When they posted the results, I saw that I had the winning time by about 40 seconds! I was SUPER excited to say the least. Honestly, deep down I knew I was capable of winning, but like anyone, I battle the negative demons in my head from time to time. So it felt really good to prove something to those demons that day!