Sunday, January 31, 2010

Whitetank Whirlwind race report...

In Arizona, racing is already in full swing. Jason, Juli and I arrived at the race venue about an hour early to find a pretty big crowd of people. The marathon race started at 8 a.m., and the rest of the regular XC races were going off a half hour later.

The lines were moving pretty quickly, and when I picked up my race number and timing chip one of the volunteers asked me to step on a scale. I was like, "wow, they are really serious about their races here." She led me over to it, and it was right in front of the registration line. Talk about intimidating. I asked her why she was weighing me and she was like, "aren't you racing in the rock crusher division?" In Michigan we refer to that division as Clydesdale. I immediately decided to put a ban on Nutella for at least a week.

Then it was time to line up. Jason was nice enough wake up at 5 a.m. on his day off to come with us and took a few pictures and cheer for us (and tell us to go faster!) Thanks Jason!

Juli and I at the start with our race faces on....
My coach told me that she didn't want me to go all out, since I'm on a training trip and there was no point in completely destroying my legs. Not to mention the fact that I hadn't ridden trail in months (minus the 2 previous days). I didn't have a chance to pre-ride any of the course, but I did hear that it was a good idea to try and get out in the front to avoid any traffic jams. The start was pretty neutral on a gradual climb, and I hung in the back of the lead group of guys. They started to go a little faster, but definitely not at a pace where I felt like I was going to explode. I could tell that the training that Lynda has me doing is making me stronger.

Eventually we hit some rocky hills and there were a few guys in front of me who ran into each other. I managed to ride around them and gave a little silent cheer for my bike. Go Dos Niner, Go! I've had the opportunity to ride some cool bikes, but this bike tops them all. I did the race to get a feel for how the bike handles, but I already felt like I had been riding it for years. I love it!!!

The rest of the course was pretty fun. Overall, it was pretty flat for out here, but there was still some climbing. One big switchback climb, followed by some rocky downhills. I was able to ride it all, but being on a 29'er saved my knees....meaning I managed to stay on my bike at all times. The last couple of miles were awesome. Super, super fast with some really fun banked turns.

Racing with one hand...
I had a blast out there. Everyone on the course was super nice, lots of people were cheering by the start/finish area, and the course was really well marked. Plus, the sun was out and I was on my mountain bike. I will admit that I started to feel it after about 2.5 hours. I did 6 laps, and each lap time was about 1 minute slower then the last. On my 5th lap there were some really tiny kids racing on the course, so I would slow down and ride next to them and cheer them on. In other words, I was stalling. When I came through the finish line Jason told me that I should go faster because 2nd place wasn't that far behind me. I put my head down and pedaled away, because I certainly was going to lose the race in the last 7 miles. My final lap was about 2 minutes faster then the previous one, and I ended up winning by about 9 minutes. Juli finished in 3rd place, and totally toughed the race out on a hardtail. She's ultra tough!

Coming through the finish line...
Podium!!!

5 comments:

SurlyGirl said...

Congrats! Jealous of the sun. The weather down here has me feeling like I moved back to MI.

頭髮 said...

說「吃虧就是便宜的人」,多半不是吃虧的人。..................................................

Tim Ek said...

Way to kill it and represent the northern midwest, not to mention Salsa! I'd say that's a pretty good start to the season.

jim said...

Nice going Danielle! I love the podium shot....it looks like everyone is imitating the cactus. :)

Craig said...

Excellent! What a great way enhance your training and kick off the season. Fun in the sun!