Alright, this post is long overdue as the race was over a week ago, but better late than never. So here is the race report:
On Saturday June 13th both Erica and I headed south from Denver for about an hour and we landed in Colorado Springs. I honestly cannot remember the last time I set foot in Colorado Springs so I was really looking forward to my first mountain bike race in the city. The race took place at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. For those that don’t know about Cheyenne Mountain, it is also home to NORAD or the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which provides defense systems to the entire North American continent (thanks Wikipedia).
The race took place just beneath the actual NORAD facility and was the final stop of the US CUP mountain bike race series. My race kicked off at 9:45 and the race flyer indicated 4 laps on the 5.5-mile course with almost 1,000 feet of climbing per lap. This was going to be a fast grueling race, however a minute before the start of the race the promoter decided to cut the race back to 3 laps. So in my mind all this meant was that the race was going to be even faster than before. Not really my kind of race since I am training for endurance events and not short power races. So the start gun went off and all 200+ Cat 1 racers were on course. Luckily I got to the start line early and had a front row start. I did my traditional off the front off the back routine and held the 2nd place for the first 15 minutes of the race and quickly faded after that. Someday I’ll learn how to not go so fast off the start line, but for now I will probably keep with my ritual.
As the race wore on I realized that this course was definitely a race where a pre-ride would have been worthwhile. Though most of the course was rideable, there were quite a few technical sections where I put my cyclocross skills to work. I got to say that my technical riding abilities are definitely lacking right now, but after a few more races and some big mountain rides I think I’ll be up to snuff.
Heading into my second lap my legs started to feel a little recovered after the initial blast off from the start line. The problem I encountered during this race was that it really consisted of a half lap of climbing and then a half lap of downhill. Once I started to head back up the hill again my legs were cooled down from not pedaling for almost 2.5 miles and I definitely lacked in the power department. What I did notice was that my lap times did improve each lap, but I attribute this to knowing the course and not because of fitness and getting into a rhythm.
So after racing around in circles 3 times the race was finally over and I finished in just over 1:30 for the 3 laps and rounded out the top 10. My finish was definitely nothing to write home about, however it did qualify me for the National Championships in July. So my goal for the day was a top 10 finish and I barely made that goal, but hey I hit the goal!
The next race on the schedule is race #2 in the Winter Park Mountain Bike Race Series. I’m definitely looking forward to heading up to Winter Park on June 27th. The team at the Winter Park Competition Center put on THE BEST mountain bike races in Colorado hands down!
Catch ya lata,