Marshall and Ryan would also make the trip up the hill and we took to the baron, desert mountain in our flo-yellow. Stoked...
The final stage was for pro/expert only since it ran through the main rock gardens on the hill. It was pretty fun, and thankfully I had seen it before so I knew just to point it straight and let the bike do the work. The LTc soaked it all up and I'm really diggin' the TALAS 140 fork. Especially dropping it down to 120mm for the long transfer climbs.
I ended up 12th overall, and even though times were very close together, I couldn't help but be frustrated with my performance. I just need to relax and ride it, not tense up and try to pedal my way through everything. But I was stoked with the trailer I picked up through craigslist while I was up in Reno, it's going to be perfect to use for TimeYourRace! And maybe the occasional shuttle day... :-)
The next day was the Rockhopper Classic XC race at Lagoon Valley Park in Vacaville. Last year I had to miss this race because I sliced open my hand with a saw, so I was happy to be in one piece this year! We were timing the race as well, so Jen took the trailer early in the morning. I set off a little later after dropping Logan off with some friends to watch for the day. While I was so thankful for their help, I really didn't want to leave him since he's always incredibly cute in the morning and hard to leave! Because of that, and my frustration with my enduro race the day before, I decided I'd really make this race count.
With the steep, punchy style of this course, the Highball was my steed for the day. I got in an easy warmup, stuck six Clif Shot Bloks to the top tube (sorted by caffeine level), and I was feeling comfortable on the line.
It was really starting to warm up as I started my second lap. And I tried to ride in the shade wherever I could.
I was still feeling decent on the steep climbs for the second lap, which was surprising to me since I haven't had the chance to do much training for them. They were tough though, especially with the dead air making me feel like I was in an oven while climbing slowly. I was slowly, slowly stretching my lead but Justin was still hanging on about five to ten seconds back so I had to keep my pace up. Every time I'd look back to him, his effort showed on his face and his jersey was fully open. He was ready to crack, I was just hoping it was soon! I really wanted to ease up for a minute and take on a little more fuel and water without giving ground. That finally happened by the time I reached the top of the mountain on the second lap. And once I reached the bottom and headed out for my third and final lap, I had no chasers in sight. I took down the last of my non-caffeinated Shot Bloks and a bunch of water as I started the third lap. But half way through I was getting hungry and those steep climbs were burning hot. On to the caffeinated bloks for the last boost of energy to the finish! I started talking to myself... "They're still there, chasing... they're coming... just a few more minutes of climbing... one more set of switchbacks... you can do this keep it up!" Finally I made it to the top, happy to rail the descent one final time. I was a bit out of it though, and as I jumped over a rock about half way down, my take-off was poor and I didn't counter the force of the hot side-wind coming up the hill. I landed on the bank of the cut in trail, the tires slipped out and I slid along for about ten feet on my hip and elbow. I never let go of the bars though and was back on and rolling quickly with revived focus that carried me to the finish and the win.