Sunday, December 8, 2013

Race Report: Racers and Chasers Winter XC Series #1

Balboa Park is home to Ninja Mountain Bike Skills clinics and the famous Tuesday Night Workouts led by USAC Coach Richard La China, so it's no wonder the newly minted TEAM NINJA was out in such good force.

Richard La China Photo
And check out our home base pop-up tent! Thanks to all the Ninjas who came to cheer each other on and show off those black and pink jerseys. It was really exciting to see all those great results. Special congrats to Aaron Hauck who won his category AND the overall fastest time.

And speaking of results, I didn't have a bad day out there considering this event is a bit of an anomaly in the training schedule. Nothing like throwing in a race at the last minute to shake up base miles. As you can see from the photo, the weather was a bit unpredictable today so maybe that kept the ladies away but overall, I was a little disappointed in the female turn out, weather or not. Bea Dormoy and I had the expert category all to ourselves, and we were lonely.

Bea leads it out. Gerhard Gross photo.
The start was kind of funny -- I didn't realize we were starting with the men but in hindsight that probably should have been obvious. So I was off the back from the beginning, but quickly made up some ground and hopped into a pretty blue train of dudes in the expert category.

The lesson today: If you find yourself in a moving train, stay in the train. Don't try to do your part to push the pace, like I did, and then get blown out the back, like I did. Oh well, c'est la vie. They dropped me on a climb and as I watched my HR soar into zone "6" I was happy to them go.

I spent the rest of the race mostly alone, except for fellow Ninjas hollering from the sidelines. Had every kind of weather, including a good soaking for my final lap. Also finally discovered what everyone down here is talking about when they say "Pershings" -- the name of a lovely long climb out of each of the five laps on the menu today.

Gerhard and my teammates were waiting at the end in great spirits despite being cold and wet -- such a nice way to end the race. And I got to stand on the box with Bea so that was also a plus. Thanks Racers and Chasers for a fun event to benefit high school mountain bikers. Thanks Gerhard and all the Ninjas for making racing that much more fun.

The entire women's field in Expert class! Bea Dormoy and Me.  RLC Photo. 
Team Ninja's Ryan Brown and Aaron Hauck. Noel Tabor Photo. 

(And thanks in advance to whoever finds my Road ID Bracelet, which I think I dropped at the start area, or maybe by the podium.)

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