This weekend was Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek it is the final race of the championship series before Nationals and is also known to be the most difficult of the series. Going into the race I was feeling excited to race because I know I have made some big improvements this season but also a little apprehensive about trail running on my still healing ankle. I had to keep telling myself I am already qualified for Worlds so the goal here is to still race hard but not re-injure my ankle!
It was a very nice weekend. Drew and I left early on Friday so he could go and pre ride the course (just so he knew what I would be going through ). We were able to leave Ashlyn with her cousins and my brother-in-law. She was very happy to have a weekend at their house and wasn’t sad at all to say goodbye. It definitely made for a more relaxing race weekend just the two of us. Had a great hotel location right at the start and seemed like everyone was staying there! Went out and found a perfect pre-race paleo dinner across the street and Bob’s Place.
Saturday brought a beautiful race morning as I set up transitions and tried to get my ankle all warm and ready. I got a great spot in transition right next to the pro rack. The race starts in Nottingham lake in Avon. It was a nice 66 degrees for the two lap swim. I tried to start smooth and then get into a good pace. I felt good and actually was able to find some room which I have had trouble doing here in the past. When I stood up out of the water I was excited to see that I was exiting right alongside my teammate, Vanessa, who is a great swimmer. This boosted my confidence because I knew that I had made a big improvement on my swim. I fumbled through transition which was a little slow. I chose to take the time to put on a brace for added support for my ankle. I jumped on my bike and got my legs spinning on the short pavement section before we start climbing. The bike course consists of about 3600 feet of climbing and much of that is right at the beginning. I got into the train of people on the climb which was slightly frustrating but was probably good because it held me to a good pace at the beginning, forcing me to not go out to hard on that climb. I was feeling strong and passed a few ladies on my way up. However, I got passed by one girl near the top. So the chase was on and she is a really great climber. I wasn’t able to catch her and was about a minute and a half behind as I came into T2. Another terrible transition and I was off running trying to get myself psyched for this run course that as always kicked my butt with another 1600 ft of climbing! I had some slight quad cramping on the first big climb but felt that I was able to hold a better pace than in the past. I got to the last single track section and stayed focused on not rolling my ankle. I was still able to cut my run time by 10 minutes.
Success! No rolled ankles and I was able to take 2nd in my age group. I cut my time from last year by 29 minutes! I am happy with the day and now I am looking forward to some more gains by US Nationals in September and then World in October. I know there is room for improvement and also hopefully a strong and healed ankle.