After riding the course about four times the weeks leading up to the race, and slowly walking through it, I felt more prepared for a race then ever. I came into it knowing every line I wanted to take, and how to take it the quickest. When it came to the day before the race, I went out and pre rode and just got to know the course further and see if I could find any last minute lines. I also planned on mentally just going through the whole race working on the basics: cornering, attic position, braking, etc. I felt completely confident for this race and was happy to finally feel this way.
On race day, I warmed up by just doing some spin ups on the trainer and then a little bit before race time, I hopped on my mountain bike and rode up a hill a couple times. Minooka has a long lead out starting with a climb and then winding through some double track before going in to the single track. I knew I wanted to be the first in to that section of single track because it was my strongest section of the race. I ended up starting three rows back since there was a record amount of Elite women at this race. Some Cat 1 junior girls got in the front row somehow so that made me nervous right away. I already was nervous because I knew the hardest part of my race was going to be sprinting to get in to the single track first.
When the race started, I right away was behind because of starting so far back but I managed to get to the top of the first climb before most of my competitors. I ended up going really hard in the double track and ended up fourth overall out of the Elite women and Cat 1 Juniors in to the single track. I rode that single track hard and was riding behind Lindsay Guerra and Anna Ganju until they sprinted away from me when it opened up again. I rode the whole first lap just focusing on the basics and riding with an Elite rider a bit in to the second lap. I knew I already had a huge gap almost from the start. On the second lap when I saw who I guessed was in second place coming down a hill I went down a couple minutes earlier, I then laid low for the rest of the race just focusing on hitting everything correctly but still putting up a pace. The lady I was riding with had fallen back from where I was riding so I finished up the race by myself. I ended up coming through in first feeling like I’ve had the strongest race that I’ve had in awhile. I feel like I’m definitely going to peak for the Midwest Mountain Bike Championships and I’m excited to see what happens when I race there.