Bay Area based cyclocross squad representing Fresh Air Bicycles in San Francisco and Hunter Cycles from the mountains of Santa Cruz County. Besides our title sponsors, we are fortunate enough to have the support of some fantastic folks: San Francisco based companies like De La Paz Coffee Roasters and Una Pizza Napoletana, in addition to Thunderbird Energetica & EpicBar, Vans, Pacenti, Sim-Works and Paul Components.

See you in the dirt.

 

Wow, Downieville. What a beast. I was coming off of a big trip to Oregon where I was riding my mountain bike quite a bit. Thanks to my awesome friends who had a rental for the week, I was able to head to Downieville on Sunday night, almost a week before the race. Common sense would dictate that it would be best to take it easy, swim in the river, eat well and keep my feet up. However, a week of riding the Downieville trails was too much fun to pass up, especially with great friends coming to join us throughout the week. So, I ended up riding almost every day, figuring that it would hurt my result but really…the good times would be worth it. 
The race was rough. I woke up at 4am starving, and realized that somehow, despite trying to eat a big dinner, I’d totally blown it on nutrition already. Then, my bike went into a van that didn’t make it to Sierra City for an extra 30 minutes, meaning I was standing around at the start nervously waiting for it instead of warming up. Realistically, once my bike showed up 25 minutes before the whistle, I knew I’d be warming up on the climb. I told myself to ease into it and try not to blow up early, a classic mistake on this steep, loose and exposed hill. I started in the back of my category (Expert), and right away I could tell I just didn’t have it. There were a few times during the famous “trail of tears” 8 mile climb where I seriously considered quitting. I was slightly more enthusiastic after cleaning the entire thing, albeit at a snail’s pace, thanks to my granny and sturdy new 2.3 Vigilantes. However, towards the top I started to get the dreaded feeling I was heading towards some serious cramping. Sure enough, riding Sunrise trail I could feel my muscles seizing on the punchy uphills. First my hamstrings…then quads…then inner thighs…oh, and then my lower back seized up. Yikes…there were a lot of miles left, and my body was revolting.
At that point I just figured I was in survival mode, and would have to ride my own pace on the climbs, and get my kicks on the descents. I took it somewhat easy coming down Pauley - I was tired, and crashing there amongst the babyheads has serious consequences. I started to recover a little bit but had to baby my legs on the short climbs. I was happy to notice that thanks to my horrible climbing performance, I wasn’t getting passed much on descents, but was definitely picking off some people. I need to get better about passing on the downhills - had some ladies in my sights that managed to get through traffic and take off, while I was a bit bogged down. I had been riding those trails all week after all, and had them pretty dialed, especially Third Divide.
By First Divide I was actually enjoying myself again - despite intermittent painful reminders that my legs were toast. It’s hard not to have a blast riding those trails. I ended up finishing in just over 3 hours, which I was pretty stoked about. Downieville was only my 4th mountain bike race, and by many accounts it’s one of the hardest around. I felt terrible but I rode cleanly and pulled off what I considered to be a respectable time, all things considered.
So, of course, I came home and registered for Annadel. Maybe I’ll even give myself some recovery so I can actually race this time…
-l

Wow, Downieville. What a beast. I was coming off of a big trip to Oregon where I was riding my mountain bike quite a bit. Thanks to my awesome friends who had a rental for the week, I was able to head to Downieville on Sunday night, almost a week before the race. Common sense would dictate that it would be best to take it easy, swim in the river, eat well and keep my feet up. However, a week of riding the Downieville trails was too much fun to pass up, especially with great friends coming to join us throughout the week. So, I ended up riding almost every day, figuring that it would hurt my result but really…the good times would be worth it. 

The race was rough. I woke up at 4am starving, and realized that somehow, despite trying to eat a big dinner, I’d totally blown it on nutrition already. Then, my bike went into a van that didn’t make it to Sierra City for an extra 30 minutes, meaning I was standing around at the start nervously waiting for it instead of warming up. Realistically, once my bike showed up 25 minutes before the whistle, I knew I’d be warming up on the climb. I told myself to ease into it and try not to blow up early, a classic mistake on this steep, loose and exposed hill. I started in the back of my category (Expert), and right away I could tell I just didn’t have it. There were a few times during the famous “trail of tears” 8 mile climb where I seriously considered quitting. I was slightly more enthusiastic after cleaning the entire thing, albeit at a snail’s pace, thanks to my granny and sturdy new 2.3 Vigilantes. However, towards the top I started to get the dreaded feeling I was heading towards some serious cramping. Sure enough, riding Sunrise trail I could feel my muscles seizing on the punchy uphills. First my hamstrings…then quads…then inner thighs…oh, and then my lower back seized up. Yikes…there were a lot of miles left, and my body was revolting.

At that point I just figured I was in survival mode, and would have to ride my own pace on the climbs, and get my kicks on the descents. I took it somewhat easy coming down Pauley - I was tired, and crashing there amongst the babyheads has serious consequences. I started to recover a little bit but had to baby my legs on the short climbs. I was happy to notice that thanks to my horrible climbing performance, I wasn’t getting passed much on descents, but was definitely picking off some people. I need to get better about passing on the downhills - had some ladies in my sights that managed to get through traffic and take off, while I was a bit bogged down. I had been riding those trails all week after all, and had them pretty dialed, especially Third Divide.

By First Divide I was actually enjoying myself again - despite intermittent painful reminders that my legs were toast. It’s hard not to have a blast riding those trails. I ended up finishing in just over 3 hours, which I was pretty stoked about. Downieville was only my 4th mountain bike race, and by many accounts it’s one of the hardest around. I felt terrible but I rode cleanly and pulled off what I considered to be a respectable time, all things considered.

So, of course, I came home and registered for Annadel. Maybe I’ll even give myself some recovery so I can actually race this time…

-l

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