I wasn't sure how the legs were going to feel when I pedaled over to Bear Creek Terrace on Wednesday for the third race in the Ascent Cycling Series. A long weekend with some hard miles (Breck 100) had left me feeling more than a little beat up. Even though I was tired, I still wanted to race - something about throwing down hot laps on the fun trails! I got on the course and did two laps easy after the 5:00 race started. It was definitely an easier course with fewer rock gardens and steep descents then the last Bear Creek Race, but still fun. I was very happy that the really steep hill on the regional trail wasn't featured this week! That woulda hurt for sure...
Feeling a little better after pedaling around, it was time for the line up at the start. A very small group of woman this time - just four of us - waited our turn behind the Pro/Cat 1 men. Allow me a few minutes to soap box here, but where was everyone? Come on, Ladies - there's enough of us out riding on the trails every day. Let's step up and number plate those bikes. Racing is fun - the atmosphere of the Ascent Cycling Series is very supportive of all classes and the guys out there racing are all cool. A crowded starting line next week and on August 8th would be awesome to see. Okay, off soapbox! We started after the juniors and I was a little sluggish with my start. I nearly got boxed in with Kristi O on my left and Sarah M on my right, with only a few seconds until the sharp left on to the regional trail. Yikes! A few gears harder and I managed to squeeze between them just before the turn. I guess the racing was on!
In the lead and I decided that the plan of attack would be to keep the pressure on until I got bell lap or my legs went into revolt. The first little climb definitely blew some cobwebs out of the system as my HR spiked on the acceleration. Around the back side switchbacks, chasing after the juniors in front of us. The fatigue of the long race Sunday didn't seem to be lingering for the speedy riding - at least not yet! I stood up and powered through the first climb, wanting to make the first pass before the flowing trail at the top of the mesa. Made the pass, dropped down around the finish line and realized that the lap was only taking me 10 minutes. One lap down, five to go! And how long would it take for the first Pro man to catch me? Until then, time to ride and focus on picking off the riders ahead of me.
Russell, resplendent in his Stars and Stripes, caught me on the valley traverse on my fourth lap. It's amazingly easy to let someone that much faster around! All I had to do was move over and point and he was gone in less than five seconds. Fellow Pikes Peak Sports Rider Cameron Chambers was next, near the end of the climb. Another smooth pass - I did attempt to keep up for a little, but it was mostly a futile effort. Fun while it lasted though! I knew that Kalan, JJ and Fernando were still behind - and they would most likely catch me soon. Until then, I needed to ride smooth and efficiently. The beauty of this week's course was I could see the riders around me for a while. I saw Kalan and JJ coming - not the smoothest of passes, but they did what they needed to to get around. Fernando was hot on their heels, but I was able to let him around easily.
And I still had two laps left to ride. I was starting to feel the effects of the first 40 minutes of racing hard. I made a few more passes, catching most of the Junior men's field this time. Had to sit down on the long climb on my fifth lap - the engine room was running out of steam! On my last lap, I made a point of thanking all the course marshals - it's a long day of standing in the sun and watching other people race. I have to admit - I was a little jealous of Kristi, already socializing and enjoying a recovery beverage when I finished my 6th lap
Next week - Palmer Park again. Same course as the 13th, which was awesome fun. See you there!