This weekend finally brought out some of the Colorado springtime sunshine and warmth. Two days of riding in shorts and short sleeves and no baselayer!
First up was the Ridgeline Rampage race. Tight cornering, loose kitty litter surface, and relentless rolling course. Last year, it was the first mountain bike race I did here in Colorado and since it was pretty much the same course this year I was hoping to see a decent improvement. On the Friday before the race I went out for a group ride with some friends and found out quickly that my fitness was really lacking. Obviously I have a lot of work for my racing goals this year but I thought my base rides would already help more than they were.
So the night before the race, I was a bit down about my fitness but by the time I got to toe the line I was feeling better. Let the leaders go, try to find a good place towards the back and ride your ride. That’s what I wanted to do and so I watched the first 20 or so riders disappear ahead of me. Going into the singletrack we actually cleaned the first bottle neck and continued up the ridge. I knew I was going too hard but I couldn’t find a good way to dial it back. Racers were coming around me, many from the other age groups. At the second hill I exploded and pulled over to catch my breath before finishing out the climb. The only thing I could think about as I watched my heart race towards cyclocross-levels was quitting. When those thoughts surfaced I kept trying to keep positive and just realize that finishing was more important than doing well. Don’t quit, I pleaded with myself.
All in all, the race was great fun. It hurt and I suffered, fighting leg pain, back pain, dehydration, and hunger. But I tested myself and in my own way I won out on that front. Hopefully next year I can really improve on my climbing and higher end capacity before this race.
And while my legs were tired … I was excited to spend another day out in the sun so I headed down south a bit to segment 1 of the Colorado Trail. The trail there was great and the Waterton Canyon Rd gave me a good warmup before heading into the singletrack climbs. There was some hike-a-bike for a bit in a particularly steep and rocky section. I rode until I was about 8 miles into the trail and headed back down. There was a bit of snowpack up at the top but it looked like it may be good slightly above that. The canyon was significantly more busy on the way out but all in all it was a good day. Any day with a bike ride tends to be a good day…