Yesterday was the short track race here at Sea Otter. The race format is 20 minutes plus 3 laps. A lap takes probably 2 ish minutes? Not sure on that one … Anyhow, it is hard! Emily Batty was phenomenal taking the win on the last lap and the usual superstar suspects were up there behind her including Lene Byberg, Catherine Pendrel, Heather Irminger and Georgia Gould, in that order.
I ended up 9th on the day after having a super start, riding in 3rd for the first three laps, fading, regrouping and then having issues that didn’t really send me backwards but more cost me energy I didn’t have. Read on for more….
So the coolest part was that I got a front row call up. I love it! That way I had a chance to do the full on bump to pass on the start that always happens up front. I love short track for grabbing your full attention. It is so much more exciting to race that way!
They changed the course to have us climb a little higher this year. The corner was a very steep right hander where there was only room for one rider at a time so the field was strung out very quickly. Also, the off camber, bumpy, rutted, fast traverse meant no passing until after the S-turns. I could ride the traverse pretty well but was having problems with my middle ring upper gears. Just an adjustment thing getting used to components on a new bike. Essentially for some reason I couldn’t ride them. It was no big deal to ride in my granny gear up the climb but I was losing time shifting all the way to the big ring from my small ring. I first lost the first group, which was whittled to five. For a while I had the legs to try to gain that time back but near the end I lost the battle and the chase and ended up finishing behind Willow, Katerina and Kelli as well in no woman’s land ninth all by myself. I went SO hard to get that ninth place. Only the top ten finished on the same lap as the leaders it was so fast!
The funniest part of the race was riding behind Willow for a few laps. I don’t know how often the young, downhill boys decide to watch women’s short track but I guess Willow is quite the draw ;). The best line was when one of them said “Go Willow I love you!” and she said “I love you too!”. I nearly asphyxiated laughing at that.
I think these races are SO beneficial for XTERRA. I mean, the XC today will be very hard and great training as well but we have to ride faster than I would be able to ride a three hour race in XTERRA so the short track is money. Now, to get focused on sticking like glue to as many girls as I can today…
All in all, ninth in the field was pretty darn good. No one in front of me was not a little superstar in their own right. Plus, a number of superstars were BEHIND me if you look at results so nothing for a triathlete to be ashamed of!
There are some pictures on http://www.cyclingnews.com/mtb/2009/apr09/seaotter09/?id=results/seaotter098. I am in Sho-Air kit this weekend. It looks like I am a linebacker in that photo but there is photographic evidence that I managed to see the top five for while. I swear, my shoulders are not THAT big 😉