La Tierra Torture

My last mountain bike race involved an over the handlebars experience resulting in a sternum bruise, knee contusions, and fear of downhills. I took about seven months off from any mountain riding at all, and here I am doing another off-road race. This morning Jaycob and I competed in the La Tierra Torture!  I did the beginner version of the race, a 9 mile loop with a few technical sections and about 1000 feet of elevation gain.

I started the race with a friend of mine who was also getting back on the horse after a crash in her last mountain bike race, and we had a great start!  I was focused and aggressive and maintained a good pace on the climbs. The adrenaline gave me the confidence to stay on the bike around some sharp corners and rocky parts that I might ordinarily walk.  The course is mostly single track, with a few wider sections passing.  There were two technical sections that I hadn't anticipated, and I spent a minute or so gearing myself up on an especially tricky section, but overall I was happy with my performance and had enough energy to finish strong.  My endurance training this winter and spring definitely paid off because I pushed hard on the uphills and was able to recover quickly.

Since my crash last year, I am more cautious with downhills, especially if they are rocky.  But I've also learned that sometimes you just got to go for it, and you won't feel the bumps as much at a higher speed.  My mantra: Chill the F*** Out.  Relax, breathe deeply, enjoy the view, and concentrate without freaking out.

This was my first race in the 30-year-old race age group (based on age at the end of this year)!  If I were a year younger I would've been just seconds out of first place, but the 30-year-olds are tough!  I finished 3rd out of eight in my age group and was pretty happy with that.  Jaycob had a really excellent time in his competitive age group as well.

What a good start to bike season!  Now it's time to start road biking in preparation for my 50 miler in two weeks!


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