After two years of injury, Susan has come back strong as ever. Great to watch her thrive in the dirt and on the road this season!
It’s the last race of the Winter Park series and I’m barely hanging on, suffering from burn out. I need to take a break from racing and I know it, but I decided use this final race as a way to better myself in the future. It was cloudy and cool, but the sun was starting to come out the closer we got to the starting area. Today’s start is on a three mile dirt road section…
3-2-1-go and we are off.
I quickly tuck into the middle of the pack, bits of gravel are spitting up in my face and dust plumes are being kicked up by the mass of women racing down the dirt road. At the first incline the group splits up and I find myself dangling off the front group at my limit and I can’t hang. I’m quickly joined by a few other racers; we work together to catch another racer who fell victim to the fast pace set by the Pro Women.
Somehow, I end up in the front pulling the pack right before the left hand turn onto the singletrack. While being on the front is typically a great place to be, the problem was I had spent too much time on the front and was tired. Every rider in my pack passed me as we started the climb up Morse pass. Trying hard to not beat myself up; I told myself to ignore the little devil in my head, keep pedaling (even though I wanted to stop) and find a rhythm. I actually reached the top of the pass in a decent time. I planned to stop at the top to let some air out of my rear tire. Before I stopped, I practiced it in my head how I was going to do it so I would not lose a lot of time.
I pushed myself on the Blue Spruce descent to make anytime I possibly could and was able to catch a racer. Next up was Flume and Chainsaw, two of the more technical parts of the course, and I rode it well. I pushed myself a bit too hard on the last part of Chainsaw, which is an energy zapping climb. I had enough left to get me through the Elk Meadow climb, but I was getting tired and starting to ride sloppy on the downhill part. The course was wet and muddy, with lots of puddles.
Right before the D2 climb there were two huge puddles and no way to avoid them. Right after that, I had to quickly downshift as the steep part of D2 was right in front of me. Unfortunately, my chain got stuck. It was jammed in there pretty bad, but after a few hard yanks I managed to get it unstuck. This really deflated my mental state and I found myself unable to fight any longer. Typically, I can continue to persevere, but not today and not right now. I finished the race and thought I was going to die a few times during the last few miles or so and of course I knew I certainly wasn’t going to die, but I wanted it to be over. I crossed the finish line with a smile. It was a victory smile, as I was proud of myself for sticking with it and never giving up (even though I wanted to many times). I finished 2nd overall in the Expert class 40-49 for Winter Park Series, not a bad way to end the mountain biking season.