Mountain, Cross and Shuffleboard Nats

Sphinx moth:

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No pictures today. My massage therapist was able to release the muscles in my back that were locked up. It was not a pleasurable experience, but it is done. She has me foam rolling my rib cage and not stretching too much to keep them form going back. It has been 5 days and I think it is sticking. I had been feeling flat on the bike after the massage so I ended up taking 2 days off the bike. Normally I would not do that the week before a big race, but I felt it was necessary. I also had a run of poor sleep nights which tend to exasperate any low energy levels.

Yesterday I went to Pa to pre ride the course and felt good. Because it has been so hot, I have not been doing any extra laps, just enough to inspect the course. This year there are no tricky spots, so no sense wringing my self out in the heat. I plan to go back to Bear Creek tomorrow to support my friend, Tom who is racing and maybe do an abbreviated lap. I have been refraining from alcohol, but last night I had a glass of wine with dinner and had a great nights sleep. Probably the best night sleep in the last two weeks. .... I guess a little alcohol is ok in some cases. 😉

Thursday is Tom's race and I race Friday. Looking forward to being part of the race vibe for a few days.
 
When I pre-rode on Monday, Art had convinced me to NOT ride the A line because it was wet and looked sketchy to him. This had been bothering me because I should have done it to ease my mind. I was scheduled to return to Bear Creek on Wednesday morning to do a morning pre-ride with my friend Tom. He ended up getting covid and canceled his race plans, so I ended up going down late Wednesday to attempt an evening pre-ride. I am thankful that I rode because I got a chance to go down the A line and it was no problem. I rode every lap in the race and felt good about it.

I felt like I did a lot of waiting around this year, but it gave me a chance to see others racing and see how the course evolved during the first few days of racing. While I was prepared for my race in terms of the course, I still felt like I did not quite reach my fitness goals this year. No use thinking about that now as I was at the race. Temps were dropping and the track was drying out from Wednesdays night 1.5 inches of rain. I had the day before my race to get my head in a good place and I was looking forward to the gun going off.

Race recap:

My number plate came with stars and stripes being that I was the 2023 defending national champion. That was really cool! I knew all the ladies in my class and our whole over 60 heat, so it was a friendly start with lots of high fives smiles. They sent us straight up the mountain to spread us out off the start. I felt good and was leading in my class, and 3rd wheel overall when we finally turned downhill, which was perfect. By the time I spotted the entrance to the berms, Amy, the 2nd wheel woman was on the ground getting up. I passed and felt like I had a blocker in between. Amy who was in the 60-64, beat me in June at the practice race, so I knew she would be back chasing me soon. This was actually good motivation.

Right before I turned into the climbing single-track, I caught a glimpse of the other 65+ woman, Zalene down on the road below. Amy was pretty close behind me so I pressed on using any other racers as carrots on a stick. Amy came very close behind me several times. I almost offered her a pass as she was not in my class, but I wanted to get through the A line drop before I did that. Once I turned it down hill towards the A line, I never saw or heard another racer. As I started lap 2, Art told me I had a two minute lead. Lap 2 was good, pressing on, but not totally pegged as the pressure was off. I was all smiles once I turned it downhill towards the finish line. Overall, I felt pretty good. I was more ready for this race than I thought I was. Now I have 6 jerseys which is more that my goal of 5.

The course also did not feel as terrible as I thought it would be. It seemed to have a good rhythm. Perhaps my fitness made it feel that way. It was fun racing and I am glad to have improved my fitness in the preparation, but I am not sure that I want to do many more races. I need a few days to let it sink in.

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