Not having seen the course before, I was racing “blind” this could be fun! I looked at the gap, took some advice and knew if I could do the gap at Cascades, the chances were good that I’d make it.
For some reason I was in a heavy gear on the start line, so I got a really bad start (which I got teased about) and got into the first single track in about 4th place. The race starts off with a long and steep climb.
I quickly got into 1st place but struggled to get into a rhythm in the first lap and felt like I was hitting every rock. I took a tumble that opened up an old scab which bled profusely making it look a lot worse than it actually was! Halfway through the first lap, I had a good lead but still was not feeling comfortable. Finally, I reached the gap, and with a small tug of the handlebars flew over and landed smoothly, yeehaa! That was fun!!
My second and 3rd lap were easier as I got into more of a rhythm, but in the 3rd lap, my back wheel kept going flat.
I got to the tech zone, where Stephan quickly and efficiently swapped the wheel and I set off for lap four, the last one. We usually have 5 or 6 laps in XCO races but I was glad that this was only four.
It is definitely a toughy! I am glad I got to race the course before next weekend’s nationals!