So that’s it for the AZ season, the state series is over. It was a stellar year for the MBAA with some fun race venues, top Pro riders making a few appearances & incredible volunteers keeping everything running. There was a huge turnout for the women’s races at almost every event! I’m thrilled to have gotten to race some old and new faces this year!
Team OVB came thru with quite an awesome showing! We had 11 teammates, of which made it out almost
all the races & really represented for Oro Valley. We come out of the 2013 season with four State Champions! That’s huge! First time racer, Cassi topped her Cat2 class, making her I believe, most improved over the season! Caiden stood on the #1 podium for the age group above where he started out..just kicking some serious tail out there! His dad, Kit towered over the others with his ‘rock-it’ hands up in the Cat3. And I shared the top of the Pro podium with Kata Skaggs in the first ever tie for state champ.
We had a couple a regulars out there at every single race competing in each of their Respective categories: Doug really rocked in the Cat3 group, consistent and moving up at every race. Kevin held strong and pushed thru some of the toughest Marathons they had to offer. And Randy put the hammer down in the Rock-Crusher Category and was a great captain for the Team Event. Bryan took his shredly descending skills, worked hard on his endurance this year and stepped up on the podium at one of the toughest races at the Flag event…awesome! Cory brought out some new talent and then showed ’em how its done on Super D. And of course I can’t forget Tom, who, after becoming re-acquainted with his big toe, put in many hours of volunteer work for the team & MBAA. Way to go everyone!! Keep up the awesome and inspiring work! I am super proud of all the athletes on Team OVB and ever honored to have been on the same team with such exceptional people!
As for my own experience in my 3rd year racing the state series and 1st year as a Pro; it was a spectacular year filled with wins and losses, new skill accomplishments & hard crashes, laughter & tears; I have proved my power and I have gotten my butt thoroughly handed to me, fulfilling, yet cultivating something slightly less then sensational in the end. Partially my own trying to fit absolutely as much as I possibly could into one season & the inability to pick which ones to make A races. No, they can’t all be A races! I have certainly learned a lot this year!
The finals, held in Flagstaff, comprised of some fantastic single track, tough climbing and a few very technical sections under the canopy of pine trees on Mt Elden. I chose to race my Specialized Fate hardtail again, thinking of all the climbing I would be doing..I should have chosen my Epic beast. I had forgotten about some of the bouldering I would encounter and have not, as of yet, attained the extra physical skill it takes to do such things without my rear suspension. So, regardless of how fast the Fate cornered and accelerated, I suffered on some of the technical rocky goodness. I have a lot to learn. (I say that a lot, I better get educated quick!) Already being behind after trying to climb Rocky Ridge & descent into the Hobbit Forest, I decided not to waste anymore energy on frustration. I let go of the things I could not do and started having fun with the things I could. Whooping around curves and down the hills, thru the trees. Fantastic!
After passing a woman coming cautiously into an exposed & off-camber section of trail, I hear a loud yelp and the sound of falling rock and broken shrubbery. Peeking over my shoulder, she had gone over the edge & down the mountain. No kidding. Carefully tossing (setting..) my bike off the thin single track, I run back to help her up. It is quite steep here and full of loose rock, I’m not sure she could have gotten herself & her bike back up alone. After I apologize for pulling her bike scraping across the rocks (eek), she makes it up the slope & appears unharmed other than lots of rash & a little hurt pride…we’ve all been there. I run to my bike and get back to the race, oh, I don’t know, 10 or 15 min later. Well, what are ya gonna do, nurse first, pro mountain biker second.
Continuing to enjoy the rest of my time on the mountain trail, I finally roll to the end. Teammates are there and with a huge smile plastered across my face, I shake my arms up into the air crossing the finish line…not in first place. I feel good, tho. I didn’t let the little things ruin me and I didn’t let my sometimes overwhelmingly competitive nature interfere with doing the right thing out there.
I was expecting to finish 2nd in the series to Kata after a poor performance at Estrella due to crashing and opting to do the Marathon race in Prescott. To my surprise, we actually tied! Can you believe it? Apparently a first time for MBAA series. I’ll take it! I feel honored to share the podium with Kata. We have pushed each other and shared new experiences together this season. I ventured into the unknown of the real Pro mountain bike scene with Kata. It really has been a fun year!
At this moment, I am still not yet at the break in my season; but sitting on the porch of a cabin in the mountains outskirting Durango, getting ready for the Iron Horse Classic. Three weeks after this, will be the Montana Pro XCT and then this will be the end of my season until fall…and the beginning of a much needed rest & vacation! After spending 3 out of every 4 weekends since January racing out of town & working the ICU on the ones between, I am ready for a little quality at home time with my hubby & friends!
I will be undertaking a little education this summer while assisting Kit a bit with the newly established Oro Valley Mountain Bike Club as their resident pro 😉 and occasional ride leader. If you have (or are!) a high schooler in the area, come on out and join us! Especially you girls out there..it’s not just a men’s sport!! Lets show those guys who’s got skill! Check the group out on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/503836456345993/
I am so very thankful for all support I have received throughout this season! Aside from the many fans (my friends!) and my husband (who is my biggest fan!), I have had the privilege of working with some very respected physicians, nutritional & bike maintenance experts; and the absolute best bike shop around!
ORO VALLEY BICYCLE
THE HEART CENTER
PULMONARY ASSOC OF S. AZ
NORTHERN AZ GASTROENTEROLOGISTS
And thanks to MBAA for another great season of competition!