Vail Lake Challenge

Vail Lake was the first race of my 2013 season, and my first official pro race ever. The course was very similar to last year, but of course the upgrade from expert to pro meant I got to race one more of the 8 mile laps than last year, and I got to start with the pro men and women. After a quick warm up, I lined up with the only 2 other pro women and nervously chatted them up. The group was fast off the line, but I had decided to sit in the back for a lap to feel out the pace of a pro race. About 5 minutes later I was somehow in front on the first moderate climb, reverting to my old habit of going out too fast and destroying myself on lap 1. Vail Lake has a fun little climb that lasts about 10 minutes, and is followed by 20 ish minutes of fun, flowy, punchy single track, and one mile long fire road stretch with a roaring head wind.  By the end of the first lap I had only been overtaken by a few expert men, and I was remembering why I love mountain bike racing so much. Lap 2 was pretty darn painful, but seemed to go by pretty quick, and on lap 3 I was convinced there MUST be a pro woman on my heels. I dug deep on the lap 3 climb hoping to put some distance between me and any opponents, and suffered through some epic calf cramps for the remaining 7 miles of the race. I was pretty happy and a little shocked to cross the line in first place. The mechanic/husband was there to inform me that I had a huge lead the whole race, meaning my paranoia of being passed had only served as a training tool. I didn’t get to race a sweet Marin bike, but this race got me pumped for the season, and I am looking forward to hop on a Marin hard tail this weekend for #2 in the Kenda Cup Series at Bonelli Park!
Oh yeah, and no podium pics because I had poison oak all over my legs, it wasn’t a pretty or flattering sight 🙂
-Larissa Fitchett