Sunday, April 22, 2007

Guilty Pleasures....

Napa Valley Dirt Classic

Geoff and I Chilling...
Expert Class/ Single Speed
Results: 3rd place /Time 1:45:05 / 22 miles
Well..... I had planned to do the Wente Crits on Sunday. I changed my mind and bagged the crits and headed up to Angwin to do the NVDC. I did it last year for the first time and it was the first MTB race I had done in years. What a classic course! It has it all really and not one to miss. I raced Open SS last year and got 5th with a time of 1:48. I didn't know what class I would be able to ride in as they now had it separated into Pro/ Expert/ Sport. My license has been sport for ever but I felt I would be sandbagging the sport class and tried to up grade my licence before hand but it wasn't done in time. So I went up there planning to get into Expert but the bottom line was I just wanted to race, whatever class they put me in.
I got a ride up with Geoff and we got there in plenty of time to reg and hang out and shoot the shit with a bunch of riders from either road or CX which was nice and it was sunny! I managed to reg into the Expert class without any problems and I got suited up for the warm up.
I found out the other night my 29'er won't fit on the trainer so I rode laps on the finish "track" for a bit and did 2 "starts" up the start hill. Oh not so good. I guess not riding the last 3 days might put me in the pain box off the blocks but I knew I would recover and get better as the race went on.
The SS starts must be the funniest thing ever to watch. A bunch of guys furiously peddling at over 100 rpm going nowhere fast.. LOL I had a front row start and held good position up to the "hike a bike" section which was super slick, even though I had the toe spikes on the shoes, it was difficult. I got over the top and was now chasing Pat and it looked like I was maybe in 5th place.
OK... I had Pat and another SS guy right ahead and I focused on a smooth spin and steady breathing. I knew from last year that attrition plays a big part in this race as there are 2 steep climbing sections near the end of the race and if I could stay strong I had a good chance of reeling guys back.
After 20 min or so we start getting into some of the Pro women which wasn't a problem. Not long after that though we got into the tight single track and passing was more of a problem. Pat and the other rider, a Sycip guy, got around a slower rider at a crucial point and I got blocked. The rider in front of me was trying to get out of the way but there was nowhere to go really, so I watched as my 2 competitors speed away in the forest. By the time I had got around the guy I had to contend with another and I had now lost sight of my rabbits. Boo.
I now had some clear trail and started to dial it up and started getting into a groove. This place had epic switch backs and I kept telling my self to keep the pace up and not daydream about the beautiful scenery. About and hour + into the race I am now feeling opened up and firing on all cylinders.
I kept the pace as high as I could (on a SS ) and when we started to get close to the first big hill I caught back up to Pat. this gave me a big boost as I knew I was making time not loosing it. I managed to catch another guy and then another on the steepest part of the climb, of course we are both pushing or bikes, I was just able to push a little quicker :) This guy and I ended up locked in a solid battle for the last 10 Min of the race. He hit the big flat section about 50 meters or so ahead of me but I knew he was running a shorter gear than I and if I maintained 100 rpm I would real him in. It was turning into a slow-mo battle for the last podium spot. I caught on a bit before the nasty hike a bike section we went up earlier but now we got to go down....
I got in front of him and then hesitated for a second and he jumped and took the lead. Got to give the guy credit he nailed it down the slick clay mud decent. Once I was over and could sight a line I let go the brakes and kept him close. Now we're at less than a km to go and I had him in my sights. Across the flat meadow and heading into the big mud pit I was right on his wheel. We enter the track and people were yelling quite a bit. He tried to drop me on the track and pushed it until about the halfway point and realized I was not going anywhere and he sat up. I coasted alongside and we knowingly smiled at each other. I went to the front wanting to get the jump. I knew with a bit taller gear if I jumped he wouldn't be able to come around me. So with about a 100 meters to go I jumped ahead and held the gap to the finish for 3rd.
What a fantastic race. My goal for the day was to just try to break my time from last year, finish as far up the leader board as possible and above all have fun. I shattered my time by almost 4 min which is really quite alot. The SS guys are so frikin cool. Very, very... cool guys. Props all around. I love this race, the venue, and my SS, her name's Rita if you didn't know and she's got long sexy legs and likes red. What a sweetheart. I feel great and am out the door for a nice road ride in the Monday sun.
Get out and ride!
Gotta love a dirty girl!


Blogger isaiasjob said...


Nice work. that's a tuff course....on ss and with mud to boot. You're a bad a$$ plain and simple. made me jealous not to race, but I just don't have the legs these days ;-(

Blogger velogirl said...

sounds like a most excellent race and just what you needed right now! congratulations. wish I could've been there.


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