I did my normal warm up and pre-race rituals, then headed out to the staging area for my early start. To my surprise I got the #1 call-up spot, which means that I’m leading the series! But I had no time to celebrate; before I knew it, we were given the 15 second mark. Somehow I got the holeshot! At the last two races I found myself towards the back of the pack at the start, but now I was at the front! However, I reconsidered and decided to take it down a notch before the first climb. I was really happy on where I was sitting, and could see the lead riders right ahead of me, and kept them close, but fell back a bit when I found myself alone on the flats, and tried to find someone’s wheel to stick to. Once someone passed I was on their wheel like my dog when he sees a piece of food fall from the dining table. On the second lap I found myself with two other riders and we were fighting for the 5th place spot. We stayed together for mainly all of the second lap. They would make a gap on the flats, then I would close it down on the climbs and descents, and then finally the last lap came.
The two other racers were fighting for dominance before the first climb and I stayed a couple bike lengths back and watched their every move. Once the climb came I closed the gap immediately, which dropped one of the racers right away. The other racer that I was left with attacked just before the singletrack and beat me to it. I kept the gap small on the rocky downhill, and was on his wheel on the twisty singletrack for the rest of the first part of the lap. Then he launched an acceleration out of the singletrack, and I couldn’t respond. I dug deep but couldn’t find anymore explosiveness in my legs. I quickly recovered on the short descent before the flats, and was ready to chase him down. I drained all the power out of my legs trying to catch the racer ahead, but the gap stayed the same. Every time I came close he would accelerate and put all my chasing back to square one. The gap stayed the same all the way to the finish, and I ended up being only ten seconds behind.
Even though I couldn’t close the gap I was stoked, considering the same racer beat me by much more at Fontana. I ended up in 6th place just a bit off the podium, but achieved my best result in this category for a Pro XCT, had both better power numbers, and faster lap times. Now I’m super confident heading into one of my biggest races of the year at the Sea Otter Classic where I will definitely see if all my training since October has paid off!
Kenda Cup West
April 11, 2015