Wow, what an experience! I just raced my mountain bike for the first time ever and it feels great! I entered with two goals in mind... to finish and not finish in last place! After I arrived and preroad the course on Saturday, my goals changed. Now I wanted to finish in under an hour and a half and not be last.
I drove down to Big Bear from Gilroy (about 7 1/2 hours) on Friday night, crashed in Victorville. Preregistered and Prerode the course (taking it super easy) on Saturday, crashed again. The begginer course was 13.1 miles with about 1600 feet of elevation. At the summit, the elevation is 8200 feet, so I was also dealing with altitude.
Still unsure whether or not preriding was the best approach! I was able to calculate and judge my exertion, but I was fatigued from the day before, just didn't feel fresh! I wanted to go harder but I simply couldn't... I never really trained at "RACE INTENSITY" before! I am definately going to incorporate some interval training into my program now though...
OK, so I finished the race in 1:21:41.1 in 16th place out of 20...
I'm pretty happy with that, for now... The winner finished in 1:01:xx! So, I was a full 20 minutes behind the fastest guy! But, hey its my first race and I finished in under an hour and a half and ahead of 4 people! It felt ****ing Awesome to actually Compete in a mountain bike race!!!
All of the elevation was gained in the first 8 miles (with the hardest climb being miles 2 and 3) Mostly fireroad and double track with lots of sand. Intermittent singletrack broke up the climb a bit. But what made the whole course for me was the 4+ mile downhill to the finish. It was FAST, technical, singletrack and I passed 8 different riders coming down! Damn, it felt good, they were hesitant, and I just shot past them on the left or on the right, sometimes it was 2 at one time, and they'd all just look at me and I wondered if they realized that I was on a hardtail?! I felt like I absolutely nailed the downhill section, just cleared the whole thing (its the falline trail, same one they use for the super D). I know that preriding helped me to go as fast as I did on that section of the course, just knew what was ahead, and where my lines were (even though I had to make a few new ones - over some big stuff too!).
So, even though everyone and their brother passed me on the climb, flying past those few riders on the downhill made the whole weekend for me! I know that the races are won in the climbs (and you can bet that I'll be training even harder for the Sea Otter Classic in April), but it feels good to know that I'm already a little faster than most on the downhills!
I'm a brand new racer, and I think I'm addicted...
Thanks to all who gave me advice and encouragement leading up to the race! Keep it coming, cause I need motivation through the winter!
Peace and Love,