The Snowbird race course is not many peoples' favorite. It has a very loose and sketchy service-road downhill that is a little bit dangerous, and it always sucks to have to descend all that elevation you just climbed on a road instead of a fun trail. But I don't mind the course.
The competition was 5 deep in my category. Lisa White was there, who always beats me by at least 2 minutes. Teammate Alison was there, and so were two girls I didn't recognize. That's always troubling because you never know how fast they will be, how their endurance is, or how their technical skills are. Anyway, off we went on the 4.5 mile course. Lisa took off like a mad woman, and one of the newcomers, whose name I later learned was Audrey, was ahead of me too. At the run in to the singletrack, I jumped ahead of Audrey to gain the advantage of being first on the climb. The course climbs and descends a little and climbs again before the nasty road downhill. Audrey and Alison were right on my tail within about 15 seconds of me the whole way until the bottom of the downhill, where I went wide on a turn and lost some time. Alison passed, but I managed to get back in before Audrey could pass too. More technical downhill, and then at a medium-length climb I lost both of them. I came through the first lap feeling pretty good. On the first climb of the second lap, I caught sight of Audrey again. Where did she come from!? I think I had relaxed a little bit, thinking I had some time on the others. No more relaxing for me. The rest of the race, three laps total, she was not farther than 15 seconds behind me, which made for a very hard effort with no recovery. At the run-in to the finish, I looked back one last time to make sure she had not gained any time on me, and didn't see her. I rode through to the line to take the 2nd place finish for a time of 1 hr, 39 minutes, 44 seconds. Nine seconds later Audrey crossed the line for 3rd. Lisa beat me by more than five and a half minutes, and she even beat one of the Pro women.