Ascent Cycling Bear Creek MTB Race

 I wasn't planning on racing this week - I wanted to let my back calm down, get some good training done and start gettting ready for the trip to Pelham. Adam really wanted me to race at the MSC Chile Challenge at Angel Fire this weekend. I didn't want to take the time off (it really hurts to miss a day of work when you only work two a week) and Nick had already commited to the 24 Hours of E-Rock with his co-workers. The Ascent Cycling Series Bear Creek race seemed like a good comprise between not racing and Angel Fire. I had raced the series back in 2008 and although it was small then, there was some stiff competition. I knew the series had expanded and there were more racers participating then before.

This was the second race in the Ascent Cycling Series here in Colorado Springs. The first race was while I was in Waco, at Palmer Park. The Pro/Cat 1 women were in the 6:00 start group, behind the Pro men, SS men, Cat 1 men and the Cat 2 men. When I rolled up and saw the mass of riders starting in front of us (the four women and Cat 2 50+ men were the last group), I knew that the race would be dictated by passing ability as much as by fitness. The start would also be critical as we were dumped into the narrow singletrack within seconds of leaving the line.

The Pro men were off in a cloud of dust. Four minutes later, our small group started with our own dust cloud. My start was a little sloppy, but I got a decent position at the start of the single track. My goal for the race was to work on my passing skills, test how long my back would last and not get lapped by the Pro men. I didn't meet all my goals, but it was a good race. (I did get lapped, despite the longer course - but it was only by a few guys this time!) I got a lot of good practice passing other racers (and being passed) on tight singletrack and I was able to watch a few of the other women making passes. I really still have a lot to learn about getting around people after watching how smoothly the two WOMBA racers ahead of me made the passing look. But I felt more comfortable then I have in the past, so my skills are improving. I also made it about 2/3 of the race before my back started tightening up and hurting. This time, I was able to back off the pace just a little, spin easier gears and keep the pain from getting worse. That's even better, because at Chalk Creek and Waco, even when I backed off, my back just kept getting worse and worse. I finished in third out of the four women, dusty and tired. It was good race and I'm happy I decided to participate

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