The WORS Englewood opener race goes down as one of my favorite WORS courses – it wasn’t too punishing (like other courses at ski hills) and had lots of flow and a bunch of technical rocky bits. It was on private property at a grass-fed beef farm and before pre-riding on Friday night I wondered how good the trail was going to be, so I was pleasantly surprised with what I found – thoughtful trail design with lots of fun features. My fitness was as to be expected for an early season race. I was coming off an extended base building period, so this was one of my first tests of my anaerobic system and I felt okay overall, but didn’t have that snap that comes later in the season. Finished 5th out of 11 in my race (Women’s Open) and was happy with that for this early in the year. The start was rough for me – I hadn’t done any extended uphill sprinting and my legs were definitely feeling it. The nice part about the start straight was that it flattened out while you were still on doubletrack so I was able to have a moment and recover, then pass some women before we ducked into the woods. On the technical side, I rode nearly all the rock sections cleanly except for the last half of my last lap when I was pretty gassed and had to dab twice. Felt good to have those tougher rocky lines dialed ahead of time from the pre-ride so I was able to ride with confidence – I know that gave me an advantage over other riders who struggled through those sections. I would highly recommend this race and hope it makes the WORS schedule next year!
Thanks to our wet Spring, this was my first time off road on my new Giant 29″ carbon hardtail, a great upgrade from my older alloy 26″ bike. This was WORS’ first race at Englewood Grass farm, which turned out to be a great course, in my opinion. A little bit of everything, some flowy, some technical, enough singletrack, and enough room to pass when needed.
I wasn’t able to pre-ride the course, so was going in blind on a new bike and a new course! After a HARD charging start by our group, I got settled into a decent pace. I was on the tail of another age grouper for most of the race, but he was keeping a quick pace! A few small mistakes due to lack of course knowledge set me back a little mid-race, but was able to slowly make time back up and get close. With about 15 minutes to go, I was able to make a small attack and make the pass around him, then kept the hammer down to build a bit of a gap. In the end, it turned out to be a pass for 7th, but was one of my best Sport overall finishes to date!
Overall, I was quite happy with how it went: New bike, new course, kept it upright and had a decent finish. Now that the bike feels a bit more familiar, ready to give it a shot at a familiar course, Iola, in 2 weeks!
Going into this race, I had no idea what to expect. Between the new venue and skipping some races earlier this year, I had no idea where my fitness would be. My boyfriend and I got to the venue early the morning of the race to pre-ride. Thanks to some rain over night, the course was muddy in spots and greasy in others, but was drying out nicely. My race was the last race of the day at 3pm so I knew that some of the features that were tough to ride in the morning would be fine to ride later. Speaking of features- I loved the wood berms! There were also some really nice flowy, bermy, downhill-ish sections that were a lot of fun.
The Sport women’s field isn’t huge, but I still like to make a point to start as close to the front as possible. I managed a spot on the line and off we went. Usually at the start, I’m so focused on just GOING and getting up to speed that I tend to lose track of where my competitors are besides who is immediately near me. So getting into the first section of single track, I was with a group of girls, but I had no idea how many were farther in front or in back of us. Pretty soon we started catching the men who had started in front of us, some girls passed me, I passed others, and we settled into race pace.
When I hit the finishing straight, I had no idea were I was finishing. Honestly, I thought I had finished somewhere in the middle to back of the pack. I still wanted to check results though and I’m glad I did! I finished 2nd in my age group (of 6) and 11th overall. I had few expectations for the race and planned to race my own race and it worked out for me. I’m looking forward to my next race!