On Saturday, (June 7) I raced in the Gopro Mountain Games at Vail. I couldn’t decide which category to race in, so after asking my teammates and seeing how I felt in the morning, I decided to race Junior Expert. I was nervous, because I’ve never raced in the expert category before, but I was able to keep my nerves in check. I got to the race around 11:30, just in time to see the pros and experts start. Then, I ate lunch and watched the racers finish.
By that time, I started warming up with Bella for about half an hour. Then, we both headed back and noticed that we could preride part of the course. We started up the first hill, and it wasn’t an easy climb. We didn’t have enough time to preride the entire thing, but I was able to see the start and the finish. It was close to my starting time, so I headed over to staging, which was mass chaos, but eventually I was able to find my category. We started, and there were three girls from Durango that pulled out into the front. After a few of the climbs, I was able to catch up and pass one of them. By this time, the two Durango girls were so far ahead that I couldn’t see them, and I didn’t see them for the rest of the race. I continued up the climbs, and finally reached the descent. This descent was steep and very rutted, but it was really fun, and it made all of the climbing worth it. As I was approaching the finish, the girl that I had passed towards the start of the race slowly passed me. This woke me up, and I stayed on her wheel until the next climb where I was able to pass her again. At this point, I came through the finish and started on my next lap. During this lap, I wanted to create as big of a gap as I could between myself and the girl behind me. On the very first climb, I was hurting, but was able to get into my groove and I just didn’t think as I climbed. This time during the descent, I felt much faster, because I knew what to expect. I was able to make it up the last all climbs, and I finished in third place.
Overall, I was really happy with my result, but I didn’t feel too good. I had a lot of fun racing in the Junior Expert category, because the girls really pushed me to give this race my all. I felt pretty strong on the climbs, but then I felt like I could’ve gone faster on the descents, and sprinted up more of the hills. Something that would help this is preriding the course, so that I know what to expect, and pick out specific places that I will sprint, instead of going about the same pace throughout the entire race. But, sometimes time doesn’t allow for prerides, so I just had to make the best out of the race.