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  1. #1
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    Who says you can't podium your first Expert race?

    I found out Saturday morning on the way to a local race that my biggest competition for the jersey points wasn't going to be there (and subsequently she is selling her near brand new XC bike), so I settled on racing Expert once and for all.

    The promoters tried to say I'd lose *all* of my points if I moved up, but it didn't make sense to me. Eventually they said it'd either be fine for me to keep my points, or if no one else was signed up in Women's Expert for their membership dealio that my points could just transfer

    Either way, I was able to sign up for 3 laps of racing and I should still be awarded a season ending jersey through them (which was one of my early season goals).

    At any rate. We got to the venue a little before 8 am. It was a ghost town! I knew it would be slow for a few reasons: it was a DH race with XC, Super D, and 4X added on, and there was a bigger Cal State series race the following day.

    No matter, I'd still be able to do 3 laps. I joked with a local pro that I'd get the hole shot from him, since I'd be starting up near the front and they were just going to do a mass start for all... 17 of us? Whopping XC field!



    So, I had no competition. The biggest class was actually sport men (no surprise there). Local pro had no competition either. There was only one other female, who was signed up to race beginner/one lap.

    Talking shop with the fast guys



    There was a bit of a delay for a flat tire and a glove replacement, but we were off just a few minutes late.

    I actually managed to maintain a top 4 position in the group until the first short little rise. Then most of the expert and sport men proceeded to pass me. It was okay. Those lowly sport riders only have to do TWO laps while I have to do 3.

    Taking off



    Rounding the first corner



    Early on lap 1



    I settled in behind a few people and actually went at a slightly easier pace than I normally would. Lack of competition, incoming heat, and the knowledge that I'd need to suffer on a 3rd lap kept my motivation for a skyrocketing HR low. I still rode at a decent clip, mind you, but I wasn't going to kill myself on lap 1 to pull away from the non-existent competition.

    I don't recall passing or being passed by anyone at all on lap 1. We all spread out nicely. The pro/experts single-filled up the first singletrack climb (short) and I started to lose ground there. No worries.

    I kept my nutrition going at steady intervals, and actually I think wound up recovering slightly on some of the descents.

    My front tire (currently a 29er Bonty Dry-X) nearly caused me to crash on the first singletrack descent on lap 1. It kept wanting to wash out in turns that had the littlest bit of sand built up. There were, unfortunately, a lot of these.

    The bike has been feeling off lately. Headset is creeking, and the fork and front end just feel weird. Not necessarily bad, but something just feels "off". Hubby checked it out last week and said the bike is just it's normal flexy self and the headset was creeking. Okay!

    Not much else to report for the remainder of lap 1. I haven't raced at this venue since the end of March. But, I felt *way* stronger on the hardest climb of the course for laps 1 and 2. Not that I was flying up it, but it definitely wasn't as long or as tortuous as I remembered it. Yay!

    Got close to the end of lap 1; I didn't make a short steep climb, but I did make a steep rocky climb that in all my races there (3 last year, 6 this year) I've only ever cleaned once. Not too shabby.

    Came back around to some cheers from friends at the 4x track as I went by.

    Hubby was just a hill or two away ready to take more photos. Yay!



    Up I started on the short pavement stretch with one guy just ahead of me. Unfortunately for him two different groups of DHers were heckling him. The first that I was making him look bad, and the second that he should at the very least slow down and ask for my number.

    I wound up passing him near the top of the pavement climb. He hung on for awhile, but I pulled away from him a few descents/climbs later and didn't see him again. I think he was only doing 2 laps.

    My legs were starting to feel it on lap 2. It was getting a little warmer. I made the short steep climb, and the steep rocky climb. Woohoo!

    Unfortunately I went down in a rut on a loose turn a bit before the finish. Got really dirty, and wound up with a small cut/bruise. No biggie, but that would mean a lot more caution on lap 3.

    A few turns later and hubby was cheering me on.



    He then rode over to just after the first turn of the course to do a bottle hand off for me so I'd have a fresh bottle of water for lap 3.

    Lap 3 was slower. I felt slower going up the pavement, and for the first time in awhile used granny (+1-2) to get up it. The race director was out on his moto and asked if I was on lap 3. I said I was. There was NO ONE out there. I actually passed the local pro finishing up his lap (I was maybe halfway through my last lap - but he had flatted at least once already), so I guess the other expert's were out there, but nearly finished.

    I didn't see another person the rest of the lap. The course marshall's were all back at staging to help out with other events. I kept plugging along.

    I knew I was slowing down, but my legs were feeling really sluggish, and it was pretty warm out.

    I didn't make any of the short steep climbs.

    My back was locking up walking up the hills. I came around and finally was at the finish line (that is probably what the finish line "judges" were thinking )!



    I wound up with a time of 2:10:33. My laps were about 40:30, 43:30, and 45 respectively. Lap one is always a bit shorter since you start about 100 yards or so from where they actually put the finish line.

    So, my sport time would've been around 1 hour and 24 minutes, which beats out my best time out there by 5 minutes and change! I didn't even feel like I was working that hard on laps 1-2. The crazy increase in volume/intensity I did in May was clearly paying off.

    I was happy with my time, and feel that I have plenty to learn in expert (like how to get my lap times more consistent for one). Definitely need to keep up the training as well to ensure that I can do the longer distances!

    Thanks all for the advice in my thread about Santa Ynez!

    Oh yeah, obviously I won since I was the only one

  2. #2
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    Congrats on the upgrade!! How long were the laps?
    required disclaimer: I'm a bike shop girl.

  3. #3
    bi-winning
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    nice report again aword4you
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  4. #4
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    Congratulations! If you can find a race where no Pros show up you should quit your job and move up to Pro

  5. #5
    bicycleonthebrain
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    Quote Originally Posted by aword4you
    IUp I started on the short pavement stretch with one guy just ahead of me. Unfortunately for him two different groups of DHers were heckling him. The first that I was making him look bad, and the second that he should at the very least slow down and ask for my number.

    I wound up passing him near the top of the pavement climb. He hung on for awhile, but I pulled away from him a few descents/climbs later and didn't see him again. I think he was only doing 2 laps.
    I heard the dhers heckling me and then i turned and saw you. which made me fell better knowing that they were more interested in you then me. no excuses here, I was hurting out there racing myself and yes I was doing three laps (2:15 was my slowww-ass time)... Good job and congrats on your 1st expert podium. I believe that you will experience it again. C'ya@ the next one
    Last edited by vzman; 06-02-2008 at 11:02 PM.

  6. #6
    rad to the power of sick
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    nice race report...and congrats on the move up to expert. I find its a VERY different ball game than sport. The camraderie is better, and the trail etiquette is better. The extra lap also opens a whole new plethora of strategies.

  7. #7
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    Congrats!

    Looking at those awesome pictures reminds me how much I want to get out of this country (England) well the pictures and getting drowned/frozen on every other training ride for the past few weeks.
    I think I'd been to about one or two dry XC events in all of last year.

  8. #8
    Always Learning
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    Quote Originally Posted by aword4you

    My front tire (currently a 29er Bonty Dry-X) nearly caused me to crash on the first singletrack descent on lap 1. It kept wanting to wash out in turns that had the littlest bit of sand built up. There were, unfortunately, a lot of these.



    Unfortunately I went down in a rut on a loose turn a bit before the finish. Got really dirty, and wound up with a small cut/bruise. No biggie, but that would mean a lot more caution on lap 3.

    I wound up with a time of 2:10:33. My laps were about 40:30, 43:30, and 45 respectively. Lap one is always a bit shorter since you start about 100 yards or so from where they actually put the finish line.

    So, my sport time would've been around 1 hour and 24 minutes, which beats out my best time out there by 5 minutes and change! I didn't even feel like I was working that hard on laps 1-2. The crazy increase in volume/intensity I did in May was clearly paying off.

    I was happy with my time, and feel that I have plenty to learn in expert (like how to get my lap times more consistent for one). Definitely need to keep up the training as well to ensure that I can do the longer distances!
    Great report and race on your Dos. What air pressure are/were you running that front Dry X? I find on my Dos if I run a low pressure on the front tire and really weight the front wheel in and through the turns, I can prevent that washing out even with racer boy no tread tires. It might be worth experimenting on the front air pressure to see what you can get away with, but I've never tried the Dry X so maybe it is just a notorious tire for washing out up front. But then again, so are most of the tires I run.

    Congrats on your first expert race and besting your sport times.

    BB

  9. #9
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    Bummer...wish I could have gone. You all are lucky to have a venue like Southridge that holds so many excellent racing events. I live out in Simi Valley and its an 90+ minute drive out to any racing. We have some great trails in the Santa Monicas, but no racing.

  10. #10
    ejh
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    I did the same thing at the first of the MSC in Fruta. First time having a license so its a beginer. I talked them into letting me race sport, and finished first be 41/2 minuts. Got my upgrade the next monday.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chainringrrl
    Congrats on the upgrade!! How long were the laps?
    Laps are just over 7 miles!

    Quote Originally Posted by vzman
    I heard the dhers heckling me and then i turned and saw you. which made me fell better knowing that they were more interested in you then me. no excuses here, I was hurting out there racing myself and yes I was doing three laps (2:15 was my slowww-ass time)... Good job and congrats on your 1st expert podium. I believe that you will experience it again. C'ya@ the next one
    My bad! That third lap was tough. I honestly didn't think anyone else was out there. You were still really close (less than 5 mins back). It was hot on lap 3. I'll be there at the Annual! Looking forward to the Triple Crown races.

    Quote Originally Posted by superlightracer
    nice race report...and congrats on the move up to expert. I find its a VERY different ball game than sport. The camraderie is better, and the trail etiquette is better. The extra lap also opens a whole new plethora of strategies.
    Yeah, unfortunately I didn't get to experience that. i think the races that do have competition will be eye opening, enlightening, and painful I expect to be experiencing those things around October. Most of the races in So Cal are all Team Big Bear, and I think USAC license is required. Still not sure on Nats/NMBS final, etc. so I don't know when I'll upgrade yet for that.

    My current strategy of pull out in front and hold it as long as I can I don't think is going to work in Expert

    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    What air pressure are/were you running that front Dry X? I find on my Dos if I run a low pressure on the front tire and really weight the front wheel in and through the turns, I can prevent that washing out even with racer boy no tread tires. It might be worth experimenting on the front air pressure to see what you can get away with, but I've never tried the Dry X so maybe it is just a notorious tire for washing out up front. But then again, so are most of the tires I run.
    I think around 30-32? It's tubeless, pretty sure. I haven't had a problem with most other tires. I started out running Ignitors and slashed a few of those... then ran a Rampage, but now that I'm racing those tires are way too heavy/aggressive IMO.

    I was informed when I first put the Dry-X on there that it liked to give way in corners like on high speed fire road descents, etc. I didn't want it, but hubby said no to RR 2.25 since I sliced a sidewall on that as well (tubeless). So, we went with the Dry-X. It did have a tendency to want to wash out, but I kind of learned to ride with it so it didn't happen for awhile (I'd say from March to probably last weekend it'd be fine). Not sure if the knobs are getting worn out, or if there was just more sand than I was used to. Could also have been slightly low or high pressure.

    If I'm too slow when I actually race against Expert women I may have to go with a Karma 1.9 up front also

    Quote Originally Posted by office
    Bummer...wish I could have gone. You all are lucky to have a venue like Southridge that holds so many excellent racing events. I live out in Simi Valley and its an 90+ minute drive out to any racing. We have some great trails in the Santa Monicas, but no racing.
    Definitely come out for the 17th Annual in November. I'd say it's worth it! This past weekend probably wasn't due to low turnout.

    Though, last year's annual was about the lowest turn out I'd seen also. I think it is a lot of people's off season (and CX starts around Nov, no?). But, this year it is part of the So Cal Triple Crown series (with Bonelli in October, Mt. SAC in early November), so I think turnout will be a bit higher.

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