(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Mosely)
Yesterday was the Matthiessen race. I was excited for this race as I did well last year and enjoyed the trails -- although, there was definitely some climbing. I was able to carpool with Bob Anderson and we headed out a little before 9 a.m. so we could get there early enough to preride. I wanted to at least ride the beginner's loop to get a feel for trail conditions, etc.
Soon before we got there it started raining. It let up as we picked up our number plates and, then, started again. There had already been quite a bit of rain during the past week so I knew the trails were going to be muddy. I also knew that some of the steep climbs would likely be unrideable. I did an easy lap while the beginners race was going on, trying hard to stay out of racers' way. There was a little rooted section that I should not have had any issues with but was anyway. The trails were pretty wet and starting to get a little bit beat up. I knew that by the end of my race they would be even worse but, hopefully, not terrible.
I ended up eating a Clif Builder too close to the start and didn't really get in a good warm up but I knew that turnout would be light with the weather/trails conditions. There ended up being only two women's expert racers. They wanted to combine us with the sport group but I plan on doing most of the Illinois series and wanted to make sure I got series points. The other girl was also up for an extra lap so we started at the back of the expert guys. We were off and it was definitely like the start of a 4B CX race as there were build ups at each of the turns around the trees before you head into the single track. I got ahead of Moriah (the other lady) right before the single track. The pace was still a little slow but not so slow that I wanted to pass the guys. It was slick but not bad and fun. I could hear Moriah breathing behind me so I knew she was right on my tail but I was feeling pretty good.
And, that's how most of the race went. Moriah was far enough behind me for most of the race that I kept telling myself to go at a good pace but mainly focus on not crashing or doing anything stupid. On the second lap, we were told that they were going to cut out the river section for the rest of the race. I was kind of indifferent to whether it was in or not. It was definitely muddy and added another climb but it was also fun.
Going through the trees, starting my third lap, I chatted with Hemme and others and gave some high fives. It was muddy but I was definitely having a good time. Soon after entering the singletrack, I managed to run into the tree -- at the a sharp right turn with a tree to the left of the trail. As soon as I hit it, I remembered doing the exact same thing the year before. I was amused as well as slightly embarrassed.
A little further into the third lap, I heard Regina behind me, who was doing the sport race. She asked to pass and I rode behind her for most of the lap until the hike-a-bike climb. Being so short, I'm always at a disadvantage on those. I let some guys get around me and continued riding -- seeing Regina a little ahead of me and wanting to push it to catch up to her but telling myself to go steady and not do something stupid to crash, knowing Moriah was somewhere behind and that I still had another lap to go.
I came through the finish soon after Regina and they told me I was finished. I figured they thought I was doing the sport race and told them I still had another lap. They said they were stopping everyone and I argued with them, wanting to do the four laps. I can see their point in wanting to stop everyone but it had only been 1:44 and the shortened lap would have only added another 20-25 minutes. Oh well.
I did get a totally awesome trophy and $80, which was very cool. Bob, Dennis Schuller, Steve and his wife Cindy and I got food at Duffy's before heading back. Not entirely vegan-friendly but I was able to get a veggie sandwich and fries and definitely enjoyed the company.
Christopher was excited to see the trophy and Tom was kind enough to hose down my muddy bike that weighed a heck of a lot more than it had in the morning. The next ladies trail ride is this Saturday, which should be fun. And, on Sunday, I get to celebrate Mother's Day with a mountain bike clinic with Alison Dunlap!!!! I'm so excited. = )