Tsering has also been recovering from injury. The weekend of the 10th of February, we took a little trip down to Santa Cruz to hang out with my sisters and brothers, celebrate our birthdays, and do the 1st CCCX race in Fort Ord. We got to SC at about 3pm on Saturday in the midst of a wild rainstorm. It was pouring pretty good, but we were determined to get out for a little ride- its only so often we have access to the awesome trails in Santa Cruz after all. We left the house at about 4pm and headed up to the top of campus on the bike paths. By the time we hit the fireroad, it was a full on downpour. The fireroad looked like a river. We tried our best to ford it, and eventually took a single track alternative, which was also wet. It wasn’t too bad because the rain was fresh, so we weren’t getting covered in mud, just soaked to the bone. We ended up riding for about 2 hours before we were freezing cold and the sun started to disappear. We headed down Bay St back to Mission in the chilly evening. We were literally 1/2 block from my sister’s house when Tsering ran into the back of a parked car! He still had his sunglasses on to keep his eyes dry and must have not seen the Izusi Rodeo parked to the right. BAM! I was so surprised! He fell to the pavement and it looked pretty nasty. I was worried that he had broken his collarbone, but by some miracle, it was fine. The worst part was that as he fell, his knee hit his shifter lever, which left a pretty nasty hole in his knee. We rushed to my sister’s house and he used his adrenaline to clean out the wound. Sadly, we missed the concert that night (Killah Priest was playing) and Tsering didn’t get to race the CCCX. Fortunately, he has been healing up and recovering well. Lots of icing and rest, and 2 weeks later, he is almost as good as before (though a little bummed to have missed out on training time due to the painful bursitis).
Ok, on to the race. This was my first time actually racing a CCCX MTB race. I’ve been to a couple and ridden the course, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. The day ended up being amazingly nice considering the horrendous rain storm the previous evening. We got to the site with ample time, I registered, and scoped out the sport race. Tsering was in full support mode and made some much appreciated adjustments to my bike and broke down the course for me. I hopped on my lovely steed and did a warm-up lap of the course. It was a little bit longer than I expected, but pretty fun. During my warm up I had fun chasing some sport riders and felt bad when one guy pulled off the trail to let me pass. “No, no- I’m just warming up- keep going” I shouted. He looked a little miffed and insisted I pass. The course was fun, but not really suited to me. Mainly flat with a couple short hills and rolling descents. A power course- perfect for those big ring hammering types.
I got back to the parking lot with just enough time to tinkle in the porta-potties, change into lighter clothing (it was getting hot!), and fill up my water bottles. I rolled up to the start line and was a little confused. I only saw one other woman out there. Hmm, I rode up beside her and we chatted. Beverly from Roaring Mouse and I seemed to be the only women registered for the Expert/Pro category! I was so shocked because there’s usually at least 3-4 women who come to EVERY CCCX race in a vicious battle for the overall lead (Bev being one of them). When the race director confirmed that it was just us and that we would start with the older expert men, Beverly and I chatted about taking it easy since it was just us, and so on. Wrong! As soon as the race started, Beverly shot off like a woman possessed! Hammering in her big ring to the single track while I spun out in my middle ring. I definitely didn’t expect that! By 5 mins into the race, she was ahead of me with a slew of men between us. I felt like I was riding well and passed two expert men the first lap. By the second lap, I felt confident that I could catch Beverly. Tsering told me she was about a minute up, not too big of a gap. I came in for the third lap, got a bottle and a GU from Tsering, and kept on at my steady pace. The third lap I put a lot of effort into eating. In past races, I didn’t eat enough and severely bonked. Unfortunately, I think all the eating may have slowed me down because I fell back significantly. At one point in the course, you can see the racers who are ahead of you as you cross paths after the trail does a massive U-turn. I saw Beverly climbing up the hill as I was headed down and around. My guess is that this motivated her and she threw on the NOS, because I didn’t see her again! At the end of the fourth lap, Tsering said the gap was 6 mins. The fifth lap, I hammered as hard as I could, trying to gain time. The trail was totally open (on the fourth lap, I was getting passed by the Pro men and some Experts) and I felt great. I was trying to push the descents and felt pretty confident. I cruised through the finish line and the race promoter gave me a high five and my medal for 2nd. Tsering congratulated me and Bev rode by to say good job. Tsering thought her lead one me was about 5mins at the end of the race- not too bad for a first race with no speed work whatsoever. Once the results were posted online, they said she had a 16min gap! I’m pretty sure it was less as Bev was still hanging around by the start/ finish area with her bike. Well, they also spelled my last name Would- so anything could be possible :). No point in complaining since the gap had nothing to do with being 2nd place (or not).