Sunday, March 30, 2008

NMBS #1 STXC and Super D - Fontana, CA

A zen moment before the STXC race (me? not!):

5th place in the Short Track:

Warming up

Need some chain?

What can I say except for wow, what a day. Team Sherwin got 3 podiums overall today. One for Chris in Super D and two for me - one for Short Track and one for Super D.

Here are a few shots from today's Short Track race.

I told you that I felt good yesterday in the Cross Country race didn't I? But others just felt better and you always hope its the other way around right? Well it was the other way around today!!! I felt like I was breathing through a straw today. Got to love those days!! But it made me wonder if I could have gone harder? The answer to that is yes but no. I COULD have but I had to be smart, conserve energy and draft some if I wanted to be in contention for a podium spot. It is hard making decisions like that. Should I stay (with this group) or go (to the next)?? You WANT to go to bridge up to the next. You have what it takes to go to the next but is it smart to go to the next? You have to really think about what you are doing in situations like that. Like I said after the race to many people......I was happier with my brain today than my body. I knew my body could pull it off but it was just a matter if I could play my cards right.

So you are probably wondering how things went down in my race eh? Yeah me too. You think I had my wits about me to recount it all? Not so much. Ha ha! Actually I remember a lot of it but I start second guessing myself when I read other race reports on and Whatever. Here is what I remember:

A strong start. I was out of the gate like a shotgun and got immediately on the leaders (Wendy Simms/Kona) wheel. Georgia (Luna) came around on the next lap and I jumped on her wheel hoping to hang on for dear life which I did for about 0.5 seconds perhaps. When you are already pinned there is something about those extra mighty surges that just top off the pain and sometimes even if you are in it to win it, the body is just not there with that extra touch of fitness that could really be used at a moment like that. Then gaps form of only a bike length and it seems like its a mile and a half away.

After a few laps I found myself with Heather Irminger for a while and then the chase group caught us and I was going to have nothing to do with that!! I think I got stubborn and thought "hey, I have been up here for 20 minutes in the front and I am NOT letting you guys get around NOW" No stinking way! I had worked too hard mentally and physically to let that happen at that point! So once the chase group bridged I went to the front and took it up a notch and dropped them all except the Gary Fisher Subaru girls, Willow and Heather. Great two against one. Not a good scenario but I knew how strong I was, and I knew I was feeling good and I new that I had some more matches to burn. That is all a great place to be in.

But I do admit that at one point during the race I found myself telling myself "you are in over your head and you don't know what to do tactically". Can you believe that self talk? That is bad but on a positive side of things I remember immediately turning all that around telling myself that I am smart and that I can figure this is freaking bike racing for lords sake! And I did.

I knew where I was going to make my final surge against Willow and Heather and I did it. I also capitalized on some very tiny mistakes they made which is what you need to look for and do. Anything and everything helps. I surged past them both on the Mountain Cross corkscrew and got to the top first but it wasn't over yet because we still had to make 2 more loose corners before heading back to the start finish area where the last podium spot awaited. I told myself to keep it clean and not go crazy and you will find yourself on a podium soon. And I did!!! 5th place to be exact. This is my second podium for Short Track.


Then it was back to the tent to warm down, then the Short Track podium presentation, then get ready for the Super D race, ride up to the start of that, ride the Super D course (where I saw another snake!) and then ride back up to the start of the Super D race, race the Super D and then finally collapse. :) I think I was on my bike riding for over 4 hours today before the races, after the races, in between the races, etc, which isn't long but it was more riding than you would expect when you are participating in a 25 minute Short Track race and and 15 minute Super D Race.

So the Super D course started near the top of the cross country course, took you to the very top of it, dropped you into singletrack downhill section and then went up a little bit more before it turned you around to head back to the start/finish area. It was all on the cross country course from yesterday but just a shortened version of it.

It was a lamens start and first we had to leave our bikes 50 feet below us on some pavement. When the gun went off we had to run down to our bikes with our carbon shoes slipping and sliding all over the place, pick up our bike, turn it around, jump on it and head back up the pavement where we hit the single track cross country race course.

I was in about 4th at that time but made some sheeky passes to get closer to the front on the uphill section. I was trying so hard to close that gap between myself and Kelli E. and time was ticking. I knew I had one more opportunity to pass her before the end of the 15 minute race which is what I call couch hill. It is the garbage dump where there is a quick steep pitch but by the time we got to it she was in the middle of it heading up and over and was at the bottom starting up it. I was close but not close enough and had to settle for the second place.

Chris (in orange) got 3rd place in his Super D race. It was pretty cool to both have podium presentations to go to afterwards. Go Team Sherwin!

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