Chile Challenge

Part of the fun of traveling to races are the stops along the way. On the way to the Chile Challenge in Angel Fire, Nick and I stopped in Cuchara to explore some of the trails in that area of Colorado. It's never a good sign when during the climb up, you see fresh bear tracks in the trail. Nick and I made so much noise on that ride, I think we scared ourselves away! But the trail was cool. We had almost an hour climb to the top, through snow drifts and mountain streams. My socks were soaked halfway up the climb. But it was worth it. The drop back to the car was on twisty, tree lined single track. Definatly worth a trip back to explore some more, this time with the bear bells and spray.

Chile Challenge is both Short Track and a Cross Country race. I hadn't done a short track race before, so that was worrying me. This course was fast - about 1:30 per lap. There were a few tight turns on loose gravel and one steep, punchy hill. This was 20 minutes of all out, red line effort. I went out a little too hard and started fading near the end. I really needed to work to hold my finish place. But it was a good pain and a jolt to the system.

Every time I race, I learn something new. Chile Challenge was an objective lesson in body position and proper braking. Too far forward or too much front brake and it was all over. You were either walking up the technical sections or crashing on the switchbacks on the descent.

The course was the most technically challenging mountain bike race I've done. And it was one of the most fun. It started raining half way up the first lap and never really stopped the rest of the race. The rocks were slimy, making the technical sections even more challenging. I did end up walking a few more sections then I wanted, but better safe then black and blue. There were also huge mud puddles in all the fire roads. Mud was then word of the day. I took a nice spill on the descent the second time around - they say mud is good for the skin!

This was fun trip. I got a lot of nice pictures from both the drive down and the race. Take a look
http://picasaweb.google.com/TracyThelen.triathlete/ChileChallenge#

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