This weekend is my first race of the year at Nova Norba National in Phoenix, AZ. Desert riding is the style of mountain biking that I first learned, and I’m always happy and comfortable going back to my roots. I have raced at this venue every year of my racing career, this being my fourth time. I remember going as an expert, camping with my boyfriend at the time in a ditch because the temps were above 100 degrees, and loving every minute of it. I was riding a 30 lb free ride bike with a 70 oz camelback which I thought was the coolest thing ever. My how things change. I was 20 years old, learning about this new sport called mountain biking where you ride your bike really fast on rocks and dirt. Now I’m 24, racing pro for the team I’ve dreamt about being on for the past 3 years. This is also the first racing season I have ever had where my boyfriend wasn’t a professional mountain biker. It’s time to rally!!
I’m a little nervous because I don’t know what is in store for my season. I guess I’ll know where to start after this weekend in the 80 degree heat. I pushed myself a great deal harder during the winter months this year. I went back to competitive running in the fall and spent the winter riding up to Gold Hill several times a week, freezing my lycra-d butt off, but hungry to get faster. Also, at this time last year, I was working 2 jobs, going to grad school, and training. Now I’m just working part time and riding. I am excited, but also am facing a lot of self-inflicted pressure to succeed.
Friday is the Super-D, Saturday is the short track, and Sunday is the XC. I can’t wait to go as hard I as I can. People ask me if I get nervous about the race itself. I get nervous more because I want to do well, but I tell them, “You know…I did the best I possibly could to prepare. All I can do is go as hard as I can and hope I’m fast and don’t have any mechanicals.” I also have to realize that I’m up against the fastest women in the country (and world) which sounds intimidating, but is also reassuring in some ways. Thanks to the Eric (the head Cannondale mechanic), at least one of my wishes will have a high probability of working out since I was plagued with bad bike karma all last year!
Race reports and some photos coming up. Stay tuned and send good leg karma my way. I’ll need it… tell those antibiotics to leave me alone!