Thursday, July 19, 2012

2nd place - Xterra Mountain Championships

The Xterra Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek, CO is one of my favorite events of the year because it is as close to "in my backyard" as it gets, my parents come to cheer me on and the excessive amount of climbing suits me well. This was the first year that the race hasn't conflicted with mountain bike Nationals so Doug got to watch me race my heart out and crossed the line in 2nd place. After spending all morning at work standing in a court room Doug and I headed up to Beaver Creek in the afternoon. I got a quick ride in on the top part of the course and was lucky to have Specialized super mechanic Joe Devera present to fix my sticky brake. Thanks Joe!

After my usual poor night of sleep before a race I woke up to a calm, cool, beautiful day, perfect for racing! The swim starts in Avon with two laps in Nottingham Lake. It is always nice when pros get our own start as it is easier to keep competitors in sight and I get hit and punched a little less. No matter how early I arrive on race morning I always seem to only get a very brief swim warm up in. I managed less than 5 minutes of swimming before we were called back and lined up. After the crazy loud cannon went off I managed to hang on to a group and kept two pink caps within my sight the entire swim. I came out of the water in 3rd behind Suzy and Mel. I kept both in my sights as we started the bike and was slowly making up the minute or so that they put into me on the swim. I could also see Danelle gaining on me from behind. As we hit the first feed zone and started up a paved climb Danelle caught me and I was not going to let her go. I hung with Danelle and we managed to pass Suzy and were quickly reeling Mel in. As soon as we hit the first descent Mel flatted and was forced to spend time dealing with this. I was hoping to pass Mel while we were both moving forward and was bummed to see her misfortune.

Photo: Trey Garman

Photo: Trey Garman
For the rest of the bike Danelle and I played a game of cat and mouse. She'd take the lead, I'd bring her back. I'd take the lead then she'd catch back up. It was so much fun to have this kind of race with Danelle. I really admire the "racing moms" and was honored that I was able to hang with such a tough competitor. On the very last little climb before the final descent into transition Danelle pulled ahead and put a small gap on me. I knew I was going to have to pull off the run of my life to regain the lead. Coming out of transition I could see Danelle just ahead of me. I continued to keep her in my sight for about the first mile, then she was gone. I always tell myself "it's not over until the fat lady sings" and at Xterra there is rarely a fat lady to sing so I kept pushing forward. However, Danelle had an exceptional run and the fat lady, who I never saw, must have been singing somewhere because I never could catch Danelle. I was thrilled to cross the line in 2nd and I think some were surprised to see me there since my year got off to a slow start. The top 5 were Danelle 1st, me 2nd, Suzy 3rd, Renata 4th and Mel in 5th despite her flat debacle. Good racing ladies! A huge thanks to all my sponsors for support and encouragement this year, Specialized, Avia, Xterra Wetsuits, Honey Stinger, Infinit, NoTubes and Native.

Photo: Trey Garman

Next up a wedding and some fun local races before gearing up for Nationals and Worlds!

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