I misread the start list on Athletepath for this race and for two days thought I finished 31 of 35. Which TBH felt about right. I was relieved not to be DFL.
Reality: 47 of 61.
Weather was gorgeous. Recent rain and very occasional skyspit tamped down dust and temps.
I had a full pre-ride, one advantage of starting an hour later. The hoped-for smaller field sizes did not materialize however; this was the day’s largest field.
Staged back fifth, almost back row. An abysmal start, I lost all my nerve and was nearly DFL coming into the first corner. I sloooowly recovered places, mostly wherever there was no chance of contact. Gotta work on my fear of contact. The climb out of the first singletrack section was my BFF, as was the recovery space after the second climb. I rode the first climb every time (not hard at all) but ran up the second on every lap but one.
Felt like I was getting passed all race but in retrospect these were likely the field behind overtaking me. I must have, on balance, overtaken more than been overtaken in my own field.
On my first lap, tangled with a strange off-camber chicane-slash-drop in the back playground — that lost me a handful of places. On Lap 3 my chain jammed after the backfield barrier and I lost easily 5 places there. (I came hot into these barriers every time [see photo below], a good feeling but obvs not so good for remounts. Gotta work on my remounts.) So barring those two gaffes this could have been a 50th percentile race for me.
My previous & reliable Cat C strategy was to hunt rabbits in recovery zones, coupled with strong climbing and running. (I could clear most of the Cat C field in the starting climb at Rainier — and still have breath left to pick off rabbits.) My climbing and running are still strong, but my comrades do not come out of those places anoxic and wasted.
Iris and Orion raced — Iris led the pack in Kiddie B, Orion put forth solid effort in the Kiddie As. Proud of her grit and his dis/remounts(!) Burgerville for lunch, that was awesome.