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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sugar Bottom Scramble

Oh boy was I nervous for this race! The Scramble is always super tough - the course is long and trails can really beat you up. And then there is the whole gravel road climb to start the race....and I think everyone knows how much I like gravel ;) But I rode my ass off and managed a 2nd place finish. I'll take 2nd to Robin in a mountain bike race any day!

The field was quite a bit smaller this year. With the rescheduled date, the race was the same weekend as the Chequamegon 40 and a two day cyclocross weekend. We still had 6 ladies line up for the expert race though.

I struggled a bit on climb up the gravel road but managed to get around Liz right before the top, to enter the single track in 3rd. I really wanted to get in right behind Robin, but Britt is a super strong climber and got in 2nd.

Breathing a little hard at the top of the gravel climb! Photo by Angy Snoop
Britt and I sped through the south side of trails trying to stay with Robin as best as possible. I came around Britt right before popping out of the singletrack and onto the fire road. I really wanted to be in front on the next bombing fast downhill section. I’ve been working on cornering at speed and thought this might be my best chance to get back up to Robin. I got pretty close to Robin but she still kept a gap. She came through the start/finish area with Britt and I chasing hard behind.

I led us on the first North side lap, but Britt came around me before we headed back into the singletrack for our second North side lap. I fought hard to stay with her on the following climbs- I wasn't sure I was going to be able to keep up. She got a little ahead of me but I was able to catch back up at the beginning of Rockslide. Once we got to the rocky climb she made a little mistake and veered off to the left of the trail. I cleared the climb and used all my strength to push myself on the rest of the trail.

Climbing out of Rock Slide I could see Robin ahead which gave me motivation to keep going hard. I needed the motivation for all of that climbing! Unfortunately I didn't ride the next section of trail (fast downhill twisting trail) as smoothly as I would have liked. I definitely used my breaks too much and didn't get any closer to Robin.

Grinding up Cyclocross Hill. Photo by Angy Snoop
Coming through the start/finish all I could think was how happy I was that I only had one more lap! I missed a bottle hand up and I really wanted some water...and I was starting to get exhausted. I love these trails, but they really beat you up!

Thankfully my last lap went smoothly and I finished in 2nd place behind Robin, and Britt took third place. It was great to have teammates and good friends take all the top spots! I think that is about the hardest I've raced my mountain bike this year. It was so much fun to ride with Britt and really have her push my pace.

Friends and tough competition!
Now if mountain bike race season could just last a little longer! I'm not ready for 'cross season and all the cold weather that comes with!

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