This past Sunday I competed in a local XC event at Haw Ridge. I was a little anxious about how I would perform. I had pretty much taken the past two weeks off to recover from what I suspected was overttraining. My race did not start until 12:30 pm so I had plenty of time to sit around and worry. It was also getting hotter by the hour; luckily this course was 90% in the woods.
I was only up against one other woman, Jennifer (I think), and the men's side was small as well, so we all started together, which was good. The start was fast, as all XC starts are, and my legs felt quite snappy. I was able to keep the leaders in sight for the first half of the first lap. No heavy lactic acid feeling as I hit the short punchy climbs. And I was able to rail the descents. I managed to pass a few men on this lap.
On the second lap, I slowed a bit, but managed to maintain a high heartrate. With temps in the low 90's, I was steadily draining my Camelbak. On the third lap, I dropped my Camelbak and pulled a cold bottle out of my cooler. The one nice thing about small local races is the ability to park your vehicle right along the race course. Man, it feels great not to have to wear a Camelbak! (Pehaps I can "bottle it" for the Cowbell.) I was able to maintain a nice steady pace and pass a few more men on this lap. I also lapped Jennifer on the third. She was walking her bike out as I passed. Apparently she had a sidewall tear. Bummer!
So, I ended up with a first place, but the most important outcome from this was regaining my confidence. I also managed to finish mid-pack in the men's field. This was just what I needed for going into the week before the Cowbell as I am going to have some stiff competition there.
Oh, by the way, this was my first "dry" race of the season; not one puddle on the trail. Sweet! That means I did not have to spend today cleaning and cleaning and cleaning my bike and gear.
If you are ever down near Knoxville, you need to check Haw Ridge out. 25+ miles of some buff singletrack with everything from the fast and flowy to the rocky and rooty.