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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Iowa XC Mtb State Championships – Lake Ahquabi

Time for the last mountain bike race of the year, the Iowa State Championship! This was my first time riding at Lake Ahquabi, and I had heard plenty about it, but was anxious to pre-ride and see for myself. It was just as expected; 90% doubletrack and gravel road, with a lot of climbing and a sprinkle of singletrack thrown in here and there. I know I say this a lot, but I wasn’t sure how this would go, it wasn’t really my type of course. I prefer mainly singletrack with smaller elevation changes….
Lake Ahquabi
The pre-ride sucked (I don’t know why, but my legs almost always feel terrible on the pre-ride!). We rode all but the very end of the lap and headed to the start where everyone was already lining up. I reluctantly peeled off my extra layers in the cold breeze and lined up next to my teammate Brittany and the other Cat. 1 ladies. Going into the race I knew I was leading the IMBCS Series, but if I had a really bad race or DNF’d I could lose it.

The official called out the 30 second warning and before I knew it we were off! Britt was in front of the group with me following in second. We made it to the first steep climb and it felt like I was going so slow, I was sure I was going to get passed already. I could see someone moving up on my right and a stab of disappointment hit me. They moved past me and I could see it was a guy from the marathon race, I felt slight relief. I tried to keep Brittany in my sight, but that didn’t last long! I made it up the first singletrack section, which was a long climb and onto the gravel road with its constant ups and downs. I was actually having fun on the doubletrack :)

Photo By Eric Roccasecca

There was a point when I was out there with no one around and I thought I may have taken a wrong turn (they only had arrows pointing the correct direction, the wrong ways were not taped off) and I was frantically waiting to see the next arrow or another racer. I finally saw it and was relieved I was on the right path!

I made it up the steep gravel road and the rest of the final climbs to the area of fresh cut singletrack. I saw Britt coming from the opposite direction and she yelled at me to go the correct way. She had taken a wrong turn and I’m sure I would have too had she not been there! I followed her down the fresh cut path and through the taped off cyclocross style course at the end of the lap to the start/finish line. By the top of the first climb she was out of sight again. It’s no wonder I feel like such a slow climber next to her ;)

I continued on and was feeling pretty good, and was able to overtake some guys on the climbs, impressing myself, lol (they were probably all in the marathon race, but it still made me feel better and made me push that much harder). I made it to the 3rd and final lap and knew I had a decent gap to 3rd place.
Photo by Eric Roccasecca
I hammered out the flat sections and tried to keep a decent pace on the climbs. I made sure to take it a little easier on the downhill sections, not wanting to risk sliding out. I happily made it to the steep gravel hill and following final climbs. I went down the fresh cut singletrack and through the course tape to finish in 2nd place. I was so happy! Brittany had won, so it was a 1-2 finish for the Iowa City Cycling Club women! And shortly after I finished, Aaron came through in first place. It was a great day and we had both sealed our wins in the IMBCS Series!
Expert Women's Podium
(Karmen 3rd, Brittany 1st, Emily 2nd)
It was a long 3 hours (at least) before results were sorted out and the awards ceremony started. There was a potluck with a bunch of food, and plenty of good friends to hang out with though. We made it back into Iowa City around 9:30...after a short 35 minute detour at the Tanger outlets…I’m in the doghouse for that!

Aaron with his State Champ medal
Kevin Showing off his Rick Hopson Racing T-shirt next to Hopson
Full Results

 And now to finish up the year with cyclocross season!

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