I headed up to Phillip's early Friday morning after picking up Carlos and arrived about 12 noon with wide open options to pick for a camping spot. We secured our tents behind the red barn next to the lake for a perfect setting to start the weekend off right. Little Beotch arrived just shortly after us and the party began. Soon over the next 24 hours our camping spot was the hottest entertainment with more then 20+ racers and a mini dogie camp to top it off.
I did the pre-ride on Friday with Carlos and the course was bumpy but a bit better then last year. Some of the single track was worn in but none the less, no real big change except they took out the steep grassy hill climb.
Second pre-ride with the CHAMP was a killer. The temps on Saturday were climbing and we waited until late Saturday afternoon to ride the course after it was worn in a bit. I noted on the climbs the heart rate was up there due to the heat and thought it was going to be a bitch come tomorrow if this heat continues. MTB Girl seemed to slither through the single track like a snake as I was trying to keep up. I was really feeling the bumps and felt like I was getting thrown around a bit off the seat which ended up causing me extreme numbness and pain in my lower back. The short power climbs were not going smooth and I could not get my weight centered for the climb and it felt I was falling backwards. I was thinking that the bike may be too big for me and I was getting a bit nervous about this because I usually don't have a problem with this. After trying to keep the pace, I could barely make it back to camp due to my lower back pain and all the issues I was having did not make it any better. A few tweaks to the rear shock and seat adjustment and I went back to the start after dinner to test him out. The only way I'll know is to try the start climb into the single track. Well by now, the lead into the single track was pure dirt powder The only way one is going to conquer this is by hitting the one foot cement slab at the base full speed. I tried twice and gave up. A few others were out riding still and one of the girls had the same issue. I thought I was not going to waste any more energy on this and but it behind me and headed back to camp to relax.
Sunday morning was overcast and cloudy with a nice cool breeze off the lake and it was looking like a good day for a race. As far as I was concerned, the sun can stay behind the clouds all day today. The first tune I heard coming from Don's speakers was American Girl by Tom Petty and that started off the day on the right foot since I listen to this song when doing intervals. I suited up and headed out for the warm up. I was not feeling super great once I started riding and had a hard time getting my heart rate up on the warm up. After a few minutes of spinning I thought to myself this is not my day and I was tired.
At Gooooooooooo, I hit the pavement and gave it my best shot. I was off to a great start in the lead pack up the gravel road. Once again, a huge red truck came barrelling down the road in the opposite direction towards us Sport Women and it was again a near miss. The same darn thing happened last year, only that truck was black. The front started to slow a bit and at first and we were sitting pretty nice until a few more were pushing for the front from the back and the speed took off. I managed to head into the single track in good position and hit the dirt from there. The front pack somewhere off the end of the first or the start of the second lap got a bit of a lead. By now, the thunder clouds have rolled in and the rain began to pour. The cool rain felt good and would help the course a great deal but the thunder was a bit scary. I was out in the field on the second lap and was wondering if this was going to continue for long. I did not feel like getting electrocuted today. I have a full mouth of metal and would be a great target. The rain continued and the second lap some areas were a bit greasy such as the little rocky garden of single track. I thought if this keeps up, the third lap is going to be hazardous. Sonia and I were duking in out in the single track on the second lap, I believe, and then after that I manged to create a gap. I think the seat adjustment helped. Thanks to the peeps for the encouragement, I could not believe I was still holding on to my position going into the second and third lap. I kept waiting to get caught, and for the first time I was in control. I had an awesome race experience all the way to the finish line, knowing I finally cracked a top five finish.