Monday, August 15, 2011

PA State Champs at Bear Creek

On Sunday I decided to race the PA State Champs at Bear Creek Mountain Resort. In a nutshell, it was muuuudddddyyyyy!!!!

We headed down to Philadelphia on Saturday evening to stay at one of our friend’s house.  The plan for Sunday was for Rich to go and watch the Phillies, while I went to race.  However, the weather on Sunday was truly horrific and the baseball was cancelled.  I was secretly pleased as it meant (a) I didn’t have to drive in an area which was under flash flood alert, (b) Rich is my superfan and I always try even harder when he is watching, and (c) he is always good fun to eat and drink with after a race!

I have raced Bear Creek before, and I remember it being very technical, probably the most technical cross country course I have raced.  So when we were driving to the race and literally could not see a foot in front of us because of the rain, it would have been really easy to pull the plug on even showing up (I hadn’t pre-reg’d so nobody would have even known, right?!).  Deep down I knew I would have regretted that decision and I wanted to get a hard race in.  So I kitted and warmed up and got myself mentally prepared to push hard for 2 hours.

The field was pretty small; there was only one other pro female, and 5 cat 1’s.  The race went off reasonably fast; part way up a ski slope, some paved road before hitting the singletrack.  I was happy to sit in 3rd for the first 10 minutes, letting the other two females pick the lines and battle it out.  As the race got really technical I saw the other pro female bobble and slip, so took my chance and attacked.

From then on I just kept the gas on, and did my best to clean the exceptionally slick and endlessly rocky sections.  My superfan was there after each lap hooting and hollering! I rode faster.

I was really impressed with how my new Hope brakes worked in the mud.  I was even more impressed with the performance of my Stan’s NoTubes Raven rear tire.  I have raced the Raven in both the Wilderness 101 and now an exceptionally muddy, slippery and rocky course, and it has met both the challenges.  It may look like a fire road tire, but it performs fabulously in the mud.  Check it out!

So, winning the race means I am the PA State champion, which is fun, but I feel not necessarily deserved as the field was so small.  But, I guess you’ve got to be in it to win it, and it would have been so easy not to have gotten out of the car during those flash floods on Sunday afternoon. But I did and it was worth it.  The payout was very generous too (definitely covered food and beer afterwards!) so I want to say a huge thanks to the organizers.

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