Saturday morning we got up early and headed down to the village to watch the start of the girls races. We stuck around to watch them come through one of the most technical spots on the course and then headed back to the condo for some breakfast. And sitting around. And eventually getting ready to go race ourselves.
A little warm up, and we got into the staging area and waited for call up. Which they managed to really f... screw up. They called up all of the conference champions to the front row. But then, instead of going through all of the schools in order of national rankings and having them send one person up and repeating until everyone was on the line, they just picked all the big name schools and went through them. Then called everyone else up. So, instead of getting a second row spot, I got a 6th row spot.
Somehow though, everyone got out of my way both on the start through the village and up the first gravel road climb. By time we hit the singletrack I was already top 30 or at least really close to it. And then I passed some more people. Suddenly, I saw Chad in front of me, and I was gaining pretty fast. On a climb. Don't ask me.
I went by Chad, but pretty soon he passed me back, and we settled into a little group that was going about the right pace. For the rest of the first lap and the second lap I went back and forth with Chad a few times, but we were always close to each other.
Starting the third lap though, two of the guys in our little group started picking up the pace. I was feeling good and went with them. It wasn't long before we couldn't see anyone else we had been with. Then they started slowing down, so I went around and started looking for more guys in front of me. But I couldn't find any of them. The whole fourth lap I might have seen three other people. But, I was still passing [most*] them, so, I'll take it.
*One of the maybe five people that passed me the whole race came by about two miles from the end...
I wasn't exactly sure of where I was sitting in the race, but I knew I was doing pretty good. My goal had been top 20, and I ended up 22nd. Not quite, but I'll take that too. Especially when we realized I was the first finisher from a school not located in a mountainous area!
Part 3: Short Track, pictures, and more coming soon!