Over the winter, when everyone is on the trainer prepping for the race season, it can get boring. However, with the help of Nathan’s coaching and recommendation to use Zwift during the off season, it made riding a lot more like playing a video game while still training at the same time. Also, during the winter I took on my third year of competitively snowboarding mostly in Slalom and Giant Slalom. I was ranked 2nd in the nation at the end of the season, so I did get the opportunity to go out west for Nationals for a third year in a row. Instead, this year I decided not to go simply because I wanted to focus on school and training. This worked out really well because I was able to get in the best training I’ve ever had during the off season.
WORS #1 Iola Bump & Jump
With the first WORS race of the season finally arriving, I didn’t know what to expect as far as course conditions on the day of the pre-ride. After seeing the amount of rain that had fallen during the week, I thought it was going to be a muddy race. Luckily, it turned out to be nice and dry, but was still bitter cold with snow flurries falling later in the day. This surprised me because I’ve never seen snow during May!
On race day it was still cold, but slightly warmer with the conditions still dry. later in the afternoon my race came along and I had a chance to meet up with some of last years racers and enjoy a good chat before the race. The start of the race was very fast, as all the start prologues are. I was fortunate to have a good start by not giving it a full 100% so that I wouldn’t become burnt out too early. At the same time, I put out enough energy so I could stay with the lead group. The first three laps were really good as I settled in a group with two other riders who put out a good effort during the whole race. Our lead group was so fast that we caught up to some of the pro/elite riders who started a few minutes in front of us.
When the fourth lap came I knew their was something wrong with my SPD cleat on the bottom of my shoe attaching to my SPD pedals. My shoe was loose on the pedal after the second to third lap, but after the feed zone on lap 4 the cleat completely came off! I was forced to ride the rest of a hilly and technical course without a foot clipped into my pedal. When it happened thought that my race would be over as quickly as it started all because I was losing so much momentum in the climbs, descents, and flats. During the whole fourth lap I was lucky enough to not get caught, which lead me to believe that I could actually podium. Checking the results, seeing that I took second of 6 riders in my age group and still managing to keep a good gap over my competitors makes me confident that my fitness is solid. Even when my equipment was flawed, I was still able to maintain a close race to first place. The race was a lot of fun, from all the climbs, to the descents and technical single track, I’m definitely putting Iola on my race list for next year again.