Ascent Cycling Series

The 2011 Ascent Cycling Series finished up on June 19th with a fun day at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. There were four races in the series this year, starting with a long, wet day in the saddle at Palmer Park on May 15th, then two short and speedy circuit races at Bear Creek Terrance, and the finale at CMSP. In the Women’s Pro/Cat 1 field, Stephanie W from WMBA of COS took the win, proving the most consistent over the four races. Despite missing the first race, I finished second in the series. Tracy H, also of WMBA of COS finished third, with Collen C in fourth.

Rounding the loose switchback during the first
Bear Creek Race
June 1 – Bear Creek Race 1. It was a smaller woman’s field, with only four starting in the 6:00 group. Hillary and Jessica were both on SS, and Stephanie and I racing gears. Andy started us in our own group so we had a few minutes to get settled before the guys started passing us. I pushed the pace on the first lap hard, with Hillary right on my heels. The course was well suited to the single speed and I was using all my gears to stay ahead of her! There were nearly 50 racers in the 6:00 start group alone, but the field moved smoothly around the track. Passing and being passed was much better this year – everyone was polite. I had gone into the race with the hopes of not getting lapped by the Pro Men. But alas, the three leaders caught me on my last lap – finishing 7 laps in the 60 minutes we were racing. I was happy with my six laps and dead tired – an hour of racing all out is still harder for me then the longer events.

Powering the flat on the top of the course during
the second Bear Creek race
June 8 – Bear Creek Race 2. Five women toed the line for the 6:00 start time this week. With a new course and more climbing, the game was a little different this time. We also were started at the tail of the men’s group, with another large group just behind. From the gun, the trail turned straight up hill, climbing to the top of Bear Creek. Like last week, I took the lead from the start, but had a close pack on my heels on steep climb. The switch back from the regional trail to the single track proved the real winner as I only made it two of five laps. I was still lapped on my last lap and it turned into a sprint for the line between me and Cameron C. He was riding a single speed and still managed to out sprint me!

Entering Blackmere, setting up for the next rocks
 - photo Ralph Clark, About the Shot
 June 19 - Cheyenne Mountain State Park - Series Finale. Nick was planning on racing this day so we pre rode the course earlier. And I knew that it would be a long day on the bike - the start lap and one course lap took us over an hour! There was a good field for the women's race, with six women lining up for three laps of fun. I took the start lap pretty chill, knowing that it would be almost a three hour day. Then onto the technical climb up Boulder Run, across BlackMere and down to Medicine Wheel. I would like to say that I had smooth and clean runs across Blackmere and Med wheel, but not so much. Did some soil sampling each lap and was off the bike in the same spot on Med Wheel each lap. Jinxed by Nick (who had to say something about my earrings before the race) I even managed to break the chain on my necklace! Should have just left it and come back, but nope, I decided to that I needed to find it during the race! Oh well. Got a little thrown off with that one - but got back into the rhythm pretty easily. Compared to the first two races, the pace was slower but the length was so much longer - just as hard. And I couldn't ever take a break and relax. After going back and forth for first and second for most of the race, it came down to a pass with a mile in the race to go. Wasn't the best pass - called the side I wanted to pass on, but didn't pick the best location on the trail. Got around, and held on to for win. It was a long day but a fun day on the bike.

It's great to see the growth of the local mountain biking series. There were 100 people at the finale of the series spread between all the age groups and classes. Looking forward to next year - hopefully I will be able to race at the entire series!


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