After some bad luck took me out of contention in the XC race, I was looking for a little redemption in the short track. When I showed up to the venue in the morning, I was surprised to see a course that went pretty much straight up and straight down. It was about a 2 minute lap- 1.5 minutes up and 30-45 seconds down. I knew that the race was going to be pure fitness- no tactics involved (there was plenty of passing on the climb, and not enough flat to benefit from sitting in). No faking it on that course. So the only question was- how were my legs feeling? I got a good warm-up and then rode 2 laps of the course (with such a big climb, I didn’t really see a need to ride more laps than that).
I didn’t get a great start and rode around in 7th for the first lap, but I was able to move up on the climb. Willow was off the front with a decent gap, but I wasn’t too concerned. I knew that patience was key: I had watched a few of the amateur races and saw plenty of people go out too hard and blow up. I was feeling pretty good, but I was also a little anxious to get to the front. In retrospect, I probably should have waited a few more more laps (patience!), but when I caught and passed Willow people were telling me that I had a gap, so I just decided to go for it.
That climb got steeper and steeper every lap, and I kept looking for the lap cards (time always passes REALLY slowly in short track) but no luck there. At one point Waldek told me “10 minutes to go!” which was pretty depressing because that meant I was only halfway done! Finally I saw 2 laps to go and knew that I could leave it all out there.
The spectators were GREAT. There were so many people out and everyone was lined up and cheering on the climb. THANK YOU to everyone out there who cheered for me- it helped a ton! It was awesome to see that many people out watching a mountain bike race. I was excited to win my first Short Track National Championship, and I am happy with where my fitness is as I head into the second half of the season.