Napa Valley Dirt Classic 08

Team Lost Coast Brewery members Tsering, Maureen, Amon and I (Emma) wrapped up another great day of racing at the Napa Valley Dirt Classic (NVDC) this Sunday! The NVDC race has been around for 15 years now and is a true NorCal classic- flat power sections, twisty singletrack, rocky rollers, and an epic singletrack climb at the end make the out-and-back 20 mile course both fun and challenging.

Amon headed to the race from Oakland where he had just picked up his lovely friend Melissa who lives in Salt Lake from the airport. Tsering, Mo, and I cruised up to the race bright and early from Berkeley and got there super early for once! We showed up with about 2 hours until race time and leisurely registered, got into our kits, stared at our beautiful Marin bikes, and had time for an hour long warm-up. The three of us all had planned to train through Napa Valley per the suggestion of our gracious coach, John Royson, who has been a huge help to Tsering, Mo, and I with implementing and reviewing our training for the season. On Saturday, the three of us did a 3 1/2 hour long road ride in the East Bay with some efforts and were therefore feeling a little beat during Sunday’s race. Or at least Mo and I were, Tsering seemed to find some extra juice in his legs and he had a killer race, riding in the middle of a stacked pro/semi-pro race and finishing ahead of many of his competitors for a strong 15th place. He also beat his course record by 8 minutes and snuck by Amon on one of the last climbs who finished one or two spots behind Tman.

Maureen’s race consisted of slowly moving up through the pro field after a painful start. The pro women’s field was stacked this year with some pro roadie girls coming out to do some speed work as well as the usual fast NorCal chicks and Joy who made the trip from SoCal to ride at her Alma Mater course. Maureen was hurting from Saturday’s ride and her tough week of riding, and fell off the pace at the start of the race, hanging out at the back of the field, unable to get her HR up. Gradually however, she suffered through the pain and started to gain spots during the 2nd half of the race, working her way up to an impressive 3rd place podium spot not far off the leaders! She also knocked 10 mins off her record from last year! She shared the podium with Sarah from Ventana and her roommate, pro roadie Stacy Marple. That’s one fast apartment in Oakland! What are they putting in their Quinoa!?
My race was extremely painful. My legs were dead and my heart seemed to have erectile dysfunction- I couldn’t get it up! I suffered on the flats as pretty much all of the massive expert womens field passed me and was riding on my own, off the pace for about 80% of the race. I had fun duking it out with some sport men who caught up to me, but the race was only really exciting about 1/2 of the way through the epic singletrack climb when I started to see the rear end of another expert lady. I tucked in and started to grind, eventually passing her. I had a second wind on the climb, and managed to keep on gaining spots. Somehow, I was able to ride the steep climbs while most of the girls were pushing their bikes. Over the course of the last climb, I somehow caught and passed 5 girls! It hurt, but it was motivating. On the last little flat, I got passed back by Specialized rider Teshia, who finished 10 secs ahead of me for 2nd place. putting me in 3rd. I was pretty stoaked that I managed to surge on the last climb enough to go from OTB to 3rd place following a long week of training and knock of 6mins from last year’s time.

After the race, we hung out in the 82 degree heat, cheered for the podiums, scored some energy food in the “raffle”, and then headed into St Helena to eat some sandwiches and drink some delicious Great White Beer with Amon and Melissa and Stacy and Jiro.
It was an awesome day with lots of sunshine, an impressive turnout, and some killer fast racing. Now it’s time to rest up for the Otter. Till then, ride on 🙂 -Emma