Ah, New England. So nice to come home

I flew east a couple of days early so I could spend a little time at home before heading up to Vermont for the Catamount Pro XCT. I love coming home. This time of year it is so green and everything feels so alive. Including the bear and porcupines that pass through the backyard.

After a couple of days at home, I hopped in my mom’s car and pointed it north to Vermont. Within an hour I was pulled over on the side of the road as the car had overheated. I waited a few minutes, got some advice from a friendly Vermonter, cruised by an auto shop and with assurances that I should keep the A/C off and it was ‘probably fine,’ I continued on my way. An hour later I was stopped again and this time, after waiting for it to cool down, the engine went straight to hot as soon as I turned the car on. Hmmm, now it was getting a bit complicated. Luckily, I was making the trip up on Thursday instead of Friday or I would not have avoided the pre-race freakout as well as I did!

After a tow-truck and a rescue by Stan’s superstar Richie Rich, I made my way to Williston, VT and my host family, the Frosts. Dinner that night with Richie, Erica and Evelyn and off to bed.

Erica thought it was hilarious that now we're all the same height. HI_larious. Photo credit: Richie Rich

Erica thought it was hilarious that now we’re all the same height. HI_larious. Photo credit: Richie Rich

 

On Friday I took a few laps on the course. It was pretty straightforward with a lot of two-track grass, some really fun, tight singletrack and three option lines with big gap jumps. I scoped the first option line out and was in the process of talking myself into it, feeling confident and like it might be doable for me. And then my brain flashed an image of all the hardware in my elbow and I got a really sinking feeling, got a little shakey and that was that. There was no way I was hitting these. It bummed me out that I wasn’t even willing to try. But the penalties were too big for me to wrap my head around.

I got off to not great start as usual and spent the first lap fighting through some traffic, losing the places I would make when the other girls hit the A-lines. Not frustrating at all. After the first two laps, I spent the rest of the race alone in no man’s land. I’m not sure if being alone spent my motivation but instead of my usual tendency to move up as the race went on, I faded in laps four and five.

Photo credit: Dave McElwaine

Photo credit: Dave McElwaine

Though I didn’t lose any places, I started to see girls behind me and lose time on the girls in front. I finished 13th, feeling a little ‘meh’ about the race. But afterwards, several of us got to hang with Sabra and Lea Davison’s Little Bellas. We answered questions and drank lemonade. How very lady-like  It was very rewarding to see the girls get excited about mountain biking. They were an awesome cheering section, too! No photos that I own to document event but here is one on Cyclingdirt.

After dinner with Richie and Tracy, a sleepless night, on Sunday afternoon, it was time for Short Track. The stxc course was a grassy climb, followed by a fun singletrack descent with a couple of places to lift off, followed by a flat, grassy loop. The wind picked up, which made for some tactics on the flat section. I blew the start again (I swear, this is something I’m working on) and found myself near the back when we entered the singletrack descent. By the time we hit the flats, the gaps had opened. I made some passes on the next lap and was the lone chaser to the front group (which was admittedly large since they were playing tactics in the wind). I rode like that for the next four or five laps as the front group split in two but I was never able to get up to them. Finally (mercifully), I was pulled. Always a double-edged sword, getting pulled. The Little Bellas outdid themselves with the cheering and I couldn’t help but giggle every time I passed them. Which just made them cheer louder

Photo credit: Dave McElwaine

Photo credit: Dave McElwaine

After another QA with the ladies, it was a wrap and Erica and I rolled out towards my parents’ place. We stopped to pick up my mom’s car, which had since been fixed, and here we are. A couple days to rest up, then it’s off to Mont Ste. Anne for the World Cup!

None of this would be possible without Stan’s NoTubes, Cannondale, Kenda, Verge, Magura, Uvex, elete, Griggs Orthopedics, fizik, GU, Crankbrothers, Northwave, 3T, Progold, ESI Grips, and King Cage!