OMBC @ West Branch

09.27.09 West Branch StartLee Ann & I headed to Ravenna, Ohio this past Sunday for the OMBC West Branch race.  I love these trails!  For such a flat park and trail system it is full of roots, twisty turns and a few impressive rock gardens.  Fellow Bella, Lauren Mika, met us there and it ended up being just the three of us competing for the day.  As we lined up to race we asked to head out with the Vet men which was a great motivator at the start.. for that whole 30 seconds they were in my view.   The course consisted of (3) 9 mile laps for us, which I was slightly surprised when Ryan told us. (maybe thats right when this photo was taken. ha!)  I just havent been riding as much the last few weeks so a 27 mile race was undoubtedly going to leave a mark.   When you think “flat” course the first thought is that it should be easier than some other courses, but it just leaves no room for coasting, breaks, breathers, nuthin!  Its a non-stop go, go, gooo!  I dont work like that all that well, and I still am fairly inefficient at all of the tight turns in there.  After however many years there I still have a tendency to break too hard and I need to put forth more energy and power to get going again.  I think by the third lap I was improving, but I’m not sure if its from practice, or the fact that I was probably slowing down working through my third hour of the race.

Lee Ann took off from the start.  Yeah, she’s good like that.  Lauren quickly pulled away from me also.  I completely expected that from both of them.  No biggie.  I got fast friends!  I hoped the variety in the course would give me a chance to at least maintain a decent distance behind them.  I wasnt sure, but I was tryin!   I later caught up to Lauren after she was picking herself up from a wreck.  Rain from the night before made the first lap fairly slick in spots and more technically challenging for everyone.  We went back and forth a little bit for the rest of the race with spectators letting us know that Lee Ann was not that far ahead.  With some of the finger like switch backs occasionally I would toss out a loud “L-A!” and hear a “M-J” back at me.  Good stuff.  haha. 

09.27.09 West Branch CreekNormally I pride myself on my technical and rock riding abilities, but it was actually the rock garden section where Lauren schooled and officially dropped my ass in the third lap.  I just felt exhausted and could not ride my line.  I dabbed several times with a small crowd witnessing my crap skills (thats always a great feeling.. “I swear I can clear this people.. I sa-wear).  Friend and fellow rider, Kelly Ayers, was with the spectators cheering us on and letting us know that Lee Ann was still not too far ahead and we could still try and catch her (surrrre), then as I botch up the entire rock section Kelly then adds on “now you have to catch Lauren too!”  as all of a sudden I am by myself.  I zig and zag out into the next batch of a long straight away of double track aaand.. no one!  She’s gone!  Pooey!  It is a proven fact that without anyone to “chase” I really do a not so stellar job maintaining my pace.  Sure I love these trails and have a great time on them, but that doesnt mean I’m any good riding them.

I continue on by myself and the exhaustion is setting in.  So by this time (as much as I truly love me some mt biking.. especially with my bestest friends) I’m feeling like I’m ready for this race to be done.   So many of the turns resemble each other I couldnt remember how much longer, so I would try and listen if I could catch a noise from Lauren possibly being in “I can hear you” range.. it lasted for a little bit until I was dropped a little more.  Bummer.   Wait a minute!  I catch a glimpse of a rider behind me in the switch backs!  What the..?   Ok, you are so not catching me dude.  I’m using this to my advantage and instead of chasing someone I’m the carrot.  That’ll work.  I put forth some extra effort to maintain my pace and not fizzle.  This guy behind me is so what I needed!  The course seems to go on forever, he gets closer, I pull away, he’s close, then I dont see him again.  I just do NOT want this guy passing me for fear of me completely bonking and my mental white flag unintentionally gets tossed out and its over.  I seriously felt like I was at my threshold for this entire race and my tank was so empty now. 

09.27.09 West Branch FinishI reach the final batch of single track, out and down to the start/finish and around to the timing table.  Lee Ann and Lauren are there chatting it up already and cheer me in.  Ryan tells us that had to be the best womens expert race all year with how close we all were to each other the whole time.  That was cool to hear, but I just needed to pass out now.  I was actually pleased to hear LA and Lauren felt the same way.  We all truly gave it 110%.   That rules.  I’m still not sure exactly how far apart we were for each other.  I’m waiting for the results to get posted, but it sounds like I wasnt too far back, which was nice to know since I seriously tried my best.  As I told my BELLAs about that guy chasing me down someone informed me he was the course sweep!  Ahh hahahahhaha!  That dude was never gonna pass me!  Ohh, that makes me laugh and laugh!  The end.  🙂


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Lauren on October 6, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! I freakin love you!!!


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