I raced my first mountain bike race today. Well, okay not my first ever mountain bike race – but my first REAL mountain bike race. My first mountain bike race with the pros. I’m managed to finish in the first half of the field. I’m totally satisfied with this.
Sea Otter has something for everybody, and while I’m usually here for the road races and sponsor events, this year, I decided to make my debut in the dirt with the SRAM Short Track race. 20 minutes + 3 laps of leg-busting, lung-bursting fun.
Even though this is the first time I lined up for a pro mountain bike race, I was lining up with girls I knew. They couldn’t have been any more welcoming. It felt really good to have them come up to me and comment on how happy they were to see me out there with them. Their staff and mechanics all echoed this sentiment. During the pre-rides, the girls were giving me all sorts of advice. It helped ease the whole new kid on the block mentality.
I have to admit that despite that fact that I didn’t have much pressure or any expectations, I was a bit nervous when I lined up for the race. Before I started, I said I didn’t want to get lapped. The course was short – maybe a bit more than 1K – and super bumpy. Getting lapped didn’t seem like it was an unreasonable concern here.
The course basically went up and then down – so it became a matter of getting uphill and pedaling across the bumpy top section to get to the descent. I had a decent start. There weren’t a whole lot of places to pass easily, so initially, I was just following wheels.
The group started to separate right away in the first few laps. I caught people and managed to make my way past them. I started to die in the second half of the race, so once that happened, I was getting caught and passed, too.
It’s my first mountain bike race (have I mentioned that yet?) and only my second race of the season, so I was definitely okay with my effort – and I’m thrilled with the outcome. No matter what, I knew today would be good training. The result is a pleasant surprise. I had fun out there, and I’ll be the first to admit that short track is much harder than a ‘cross race.
I race cross-country tomorrow at 12:20PM (PDT). It’s not a super hard or particularly technical course, but it’s totally exposed and a little bit rutty. Tomorrow is slated to be even hotter than today (and it’s already 90°F today), so it’s going to be a tough race.
Post-race tomorrow, come find me at the SRAM Ladies Lounge organized by Rebecca Rusch. The Ladies Lounge is a place where all athletes sponsored by SRAM gather to meet with female cyclists. We put on tech clinics, answer questions and mingle. Rebecca is also raffling off tons of sweet prizes. The SRAM Ladies Lounge is happening today and tomorrow from 2:30-4:30PM (PDT). Read more about it here.
Check out the official race report on CyclingNews for more details from the women’s pro short track race.