19th Annual Deer Valley PedalfestIn honor of my birthweek, and since our house was being ripped to shreds, had no power or heat, and the temps in the valley were down to 45 degrees at night, Drew and I decided to get a hotel up in Park City last week. This would allow us to sleep in a bit for Saturday's race and take a hot tub after the race. Since I had never raced the Deer Valley Pedalfest before, I was really looking forward to it. I also wanted to redeem myself after my dismal performance at Draper.
Saturday, though, was not a day for racing. It had rained and snowed on and off all day Friday and at about 8 AM, the skies opened up big time. The race was postponed until Wednesday. Instead of racing, we drove down to the valley and went to the gym to race each other on the stationary bikes. Lame!
By Wednesday, Drew had ridden over 12 hours already this week, so he decided instead to donate his race entry to a future race for me and volunteer to help the race organizer. It was fun to have him cheering me on at the side of the course. He also got a ride in on the race course after the race, picking up the course marking flags and signs. I think he liked being on the race course with no one else around in the rain and cold. He is a strange man.
On the start line, I was pleased to say goodbye to Erica T as she wheeled up to the Pro Woman category. Erica has beat me in every race except one this year and it is good that she is challenging herself in the Pro category now.
Start of the Expert Women and a bunch of other categories.
Right off the gate is Little Stick, a climb up the very steep service road. With the weather still really cold (45 degrees and light rain), warm up was essential, but difficult to achieve. I took off as fast as I could, and somehow, that was fast enough to put me in first place at the top of the climb by a good little distance. A tight twisty singletrack descent followed, on which I think the other 5 gals gained a little time on me. By the middle of the second climb, they were probably only 15 seconds behind me. Uh, oh, time to step on it. I pushed a little harder, but two of them were still with me on the last descent of the first lap.
Me coming around for another lap.
On lap #2, I just put my head down and dug deep on Little Stick, which must have put a fair distance on them because I never saw another woman again. It hurt, but I came across the finish line in first place! How cool is it for me, a just-turned-40-year old, to beat out the 28-year-old 2nd-place and 21-year-old 3rd-place finishers? Pretty cool, that's how.
Expert Women podium. Blue ribbon and a $25 gift certificate to White Pine sporting goods store.
Wimmers XC @ Sherwood Hills
With only 3 days between the postponed Deer Valley race and the Sherwood Hills race, and the fact that Sherwood Hills is an hour and a half drive from SLC, I didn't expect a lot of competition, but I was still disappointed to see only 2 other gals on the Expert Women start line with me. One of the racers was Margaret H, who beat me at the St. George race because she can climb like a maniac.
SH is a fun maze of narrow singletrack through scrub oak forest, interspersed with some double track sections for passing. As it was, I never had to pass either of my competitors the whole race 'cause I was out in front from the start! Somehow, even though I was unable to get to sleep until 4:30 AM on Thursday night, I had it in me to race strong. I remember on the third lap thinking to myself how much I liked racing, training, and eating right. I liked how it felt to be able to ride at my maximum level for an hour and a half. And I especially liked the blue ribbon!
So goal #3 of a first place finish has been achieved twice in one week. Now there is only the over all series points to work on. 5 races left...