The allergies I picked up at Tsali only worsened and it took a few weeks to get them under control. I’ve never had such a bad reaction before; perhaps it was all of the new (to me) plants in the Southeast? Pisgah and much of Western North Carolina/northern Georgia/eastern Tennessee is a temperate rain forest and plants sure like to grow! I feel like I live in a jungle:
Anyway I was starting to feel better just in time for my second race attempt in Spartanburg. I was in Greenville for work that Friday and used the opportunity to pre-ride the course in the evening. To my surprise and delight it had a very midwestern feel and was super fun; fast, flowy and full of power climbs. I felt right at home.
Dave and I moved to Asheville for the mountain biking and we haven’t been disappointed yet! Within an hour of our house we have nearly a thousand miles of singletrack: crazy technical mountain climbs and descents in Pisgah, Eastern Slickrock at DuPont, rollercoasters of red dirt at Tsali and Kitsuma…I did not expect so much diversity in the trails and it’s making me a better, well-rounded rider.
I went into this race with positive feelings and felt well-prepared with the first race jitters out of the way. Again we had a large women’s field with at least 20 riders and a handful of internationally experienced pros. I knew it would be a fun, tough race. After a few delays on the starting line we took off and I easily gained the hole shot. A couple of women came around and we flew into the singletrack. I was in a good position until the end of the first lap when I lost contact with the leaders. My heart rate was through the roof that lap; yes I was working hard, but not out of what would normally be my limit. It definitely seemed unusually high.
The second lap had a lot of traffic with other categories and I made an attempt to recover with the trains of riders. I did very well with my nutrition, but still felt empty, slow and heavy. Again, I went backwards and finished in a very disappointing 7th place. I hardly felt like I was racing but didn’t have a good reason to feel that way. Carey smoked the field on a singlespeed! I’m grateful for the intense competition and hope I can step it up next time!
Dave’s aunt and uncle live near Greenville and we got a chance to visit with them after the race. A nice shower, massage chair and homemade dinner certainly lifted my spirits! I found out later on that the start of my race was televised locally. At least it focused on my best performance of the day–the first several minutes!
I’ve been working very hard on and off the bike, trying to stay focused and positive. There is a lot of room for improvement and I look forward to it! Onward and Upward.