This past Saturday was the State Championships for cross country mountain biking. Despite the glory up for grabs, the rider turnout wasn’t particularly impressive. Despite the small turnout, I came prepared to race. I practiced the race course the day before and worked on a few challenging sections. Going into race day I felt confident in my fitness and technical skills.
On race day, I rode the 20 minute or so climb up to the start line. This served as a great warm up and my heart was pumping by the time I reached the start, mostly from the altitude. I raced in the Category 3 19-29 Men’s race.
From the start I drove the pace hard and quickly dropped all but one person. He and I traded leading back and forth as we climbed up the fire road. I knew the climb wasn’t too long so if I could just sustain a 10 minute effort I would have a quick rest as the course started to undulate. I found some smooth lines and pulled away from the only other guy in sight. I kept pedaling and the occasional look back showed no one in sight! I thought I had it made.
Before the course turned to single track there were still a few short climbs to take the life out of your legs. As I was going up one, out of nowhere, the guy was back on my wheel! We made a turn to stay on course and battled for position. Soon came another hill where my now nemesis attacked. I tried my hardest but my heart rate was maxed and I couldn’t hold his wheel. That was the last I saw of him as he rode me off his wheel.
The remainder of the race was lonely as I pushed myself down the single track descents. I had a couple off trail moments as the previous hard efforts sapped my focus. Back down to Snow Summit and through the finishing line, I came second in my category. I ended up about 1 minute behind the only other guy I was competing against. A great result for me and a great result for PAA!