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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wildlife Wild Mtb Race

After Saturday’s State Championship Road Race I wasn’t so sure how a mountain bike race would go the next day. Last week I did a Crit the day before a mountain bike race and felt great, but crits aren’t nearly as long as a road races! I was starting to think I was crazy, but then Brittany, Kevin, and Ben decided to come to the race after they all raced in the State Champ RR. (Maybe we are all just a little crazy?).

My husband Aaron and I arrived at the race course with enough time for a pre-ride, deciding to just ride the first half of the 8 mile loop. The singletrack was surprisingly rocky, and was very tight and twisty. The trail was extremely dry and dust was kicking up everywhere. I was worried about cornering too fast and sliding out (especially cautious after last week’s DNF from a mechanical).
We lined up at the start, with the Expert Women taking off at the same time as the Expert Men, which I have discovered is really not bad. We made it through the grassy section and onto some doubletrack and there was a thick cloud of dust. Brittany was right behind me and I yelled to her “I can’t see!!” and she jumped in front of me and told me to stay on her wheel. We continued to charge after the expert men and made it into the single track with just one other woman right with us. I pushed as hard as I could to stay with Britt and after a little while she pulled off the trail. She had a bee in her helmet – not good! She got it out quickly and was right back with us in no time. I led for a while until we came to some double track and she came around and took the lead again. It was so nice to have a teammate there and one I could follow through the trails. She kept me going strong!
We exited the south side of the trail and made our way to the north side, which was the more technical, rocky, and tight portion of course. There was a little climbing and Brittany got further ahead. I could still catch glimpses of her and tried to keep her in my sight. I’m not sure where, but at some point the girl behind me fell further back. When I made it through the start/finish at the end of the first lap, I had a 27 second gap on 3rd place and Brittany had a 34 second gap on me. I could tell that Rachel, the 3rd place girl was close and I kept going as hard as I could. I kept thinking she was on my wheel and then it would turn out to be sport men. I made it to the north side of the course and I tried to stay aware of where she was and thought she had fallen back just slightly. I didn’t want to have her catch back up.

 I made it to what I thought was the exit of the single track onto the gravel road back to the finish line, but I still had another section of single-track to go. I hesitated and Rachel was right behind me and then passed me before diving back into the single track. Crap! I tried to stay on her wheel, knowing I would have an opportunity on the gravel road to pass, I made a small mistake over a rock step up and she got a little gap. I hit the gravel section hard and fishtailed around the corner, but didn’t lose balance. I think I scared the course marshals :) There was single track around a little pond/lake and then some double track to the finish. I was gaining on her and then there was a girl from the sport race right at the turn to the finish. I had to go off the double track around her and finished 4 seconds behind 2nd place. Major bummer, I was so close!
Oh well, can’t be too disappointed after my win in the road race the day before!
And now I need to get back to eating an ungodly amount of food (time for second lunch) and doing weird stretches by the microwave at work while waiting for said food to heat up. I can’t begin to imagine what my coworkers think of me – and yes, I am on my afternoon break as I type this ;)

Brittany McConnell – 1st Expert Women
Emily Robnett – 3rd Expert Women                                                           
Illinois Mountain Bike Racing
L-R: Melinda Capbell, Rachel Furman, Brittany McConnell, Emily Robnett, Beverly Enslow

Kevin McConnell – 2nd Expert Men
Aaron Robnett – 3rd Expert Men

L-R: Jason Rassi, Kevin McConnell, Ryan Bauman, Aaron Robnett, Brad Segall

Ben Anderson – 5th Sport Men Overall (3rd Age Group)

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